Email to C4 and response

Ahmadinejad is a Holocaust denier and an anti-Jewish racist. He is a
murderous tyrant. He is anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, anti-democratic,
anti-secular. All this, but neither is he a marginal crank – he is President
of a major power in the Middle East and he is building weapons of mass
destruction which he threatens to use against Jews. His is an ‘alternative
world view’ which should not be given a C4 stamp of legitimacy. This world
view should be challenged and opposed. In my view this is a broadcasting
scandal much more serious than the one involving Jonathan Ross & Russel
Brand earlier in the year. I thought it was rude and unpleasant to tell a
man that you’d fucked his grand daughter. But to give a high profile and
legitimizing slot to this racist, violent and bigoted ‘world view’ is much
more serious, firstly because it was deliberate, thought through, not a
joke-gone-wrong and secondly because this man is an immediate physical
threat to Jews, to women, to LGBT people, to secularists, to trade unionists
and to people of other religions. He is not joking as Ross and Brand were. I
am truly surprised that C4 News and Current Affairs decided to try to
normalize this kind of totalitarianism. I used to enjoy C4 news.

David Hirsh

Response from Channel 4:

Dear Dr Hirsh,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding the transmission of our ALTERNATIVE

As I am sure you are aware, we have had an Alternative Christmas Message on Christmas Day for many years which has been delivered by a diverse range of people including an injured veteran from the war in Afghanistan, Quentin Crisp, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, Genelle Guzman, a 9/11 survivor and The Simpsons.

With relations between Iran and the West set to play a central role in world
affairs in 2009, Channel 4 felt that it was timely to feature the leader of
one of the most powerful states in the Middle East. In featuring President
Ahmadinejad, we wanted to offer our viewers an insight into an alternative
world view.

Nonetheless, we appreciate you feel that it was inappropriate to feature
President Ahmadinejad in our Alternative Christmas message and your
complaint has been logged for this information of those responsible for our

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate all
feedback from our viewers; complimentary or otherwise.


Sally Smith
Channel 4 Viewer Enquiries

Attacks on Hamas in Gaza are part of a world Jewish conspiracy, reports Greek newspaper

This report is from Ha’aretz

A daily newspaper in Greece has blamed Jews both for the world financial crisis and the Israeli operation in Gaza, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported this week.

“After the American Jews acquired once again the world’s wealth and plunged the planet into an unprecedented financial crisis, they started rehearsing for WWIII,” JTA quoted the Avriani newspaper’s front-page headline as reading Sunday.

“Midway through the paper’s story on Israel’s operation in Gaza, the story, under the heading ‘The Plan,’ explains that a Jewish plutocracy, having made the ‘wealth of the century at the expense of the economies of the world,’ is preparing to put in motion ‘war machines’ in various hot spots around the world in order to control the price of oil, redistribute the world’s natural resources and start a new cycle of weapons production,” JTA said.

The paper also blamed U.S. President-elect Barack Obama for “playing dead” in the present crisis by not saying anything against the Jews, urging him to prove that he is not owned by the Jewish lobby.

The day that Obama was elected president, the paper ran a headline that said, “The end of Jewish domination. Everything changes in the U.S.A. and we hope that it will be more democratic and humane,” drawing the ire of Jewish groups,” JTA reported.

This report is from Ha’aretz

Ben Cohen on how contemporary antisemitism works


Iranian blogger Azarmehr writes on C4’s Xmas message

“I am so pissed off, I am so livid at the incompetency and lunacy of this Western media, I want to get hold of one of these snobby condescending fartbag journalists, editors and media bosses and pulp them to the wall. Channel 4 has invited President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not for a debate, not for an interview, but to give an “alternative” Christmas message!”

“Who will they invite next? Kim-il-Jong? Mugabe? This is rubbing salt on the wounds of all those jailed journalists in Iran, this is an insult to the family of murdered photo-journalist, Zahra Kazemi, this is giving platform to a regime which is persecuting Christian converts in Iran, to a regime which is persecuting religious minorities.”

“I am tired of all this complacency and deranged madness of the Western media. British people wake up before your media destroys all the privileges you take for granted.”

via Shiraz Socialist

Dorothy Byrne is a sucker

Dorothy Byrne, head of news and current affairs at Channel 4

Dorothy Byrne, head of news and current affairs at Channel 4

“As the leader of one of the most powerful states in the Middle East, President Ahmadinejad’s views are enormously influential,” said Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs. “As we approach a critical time in international relations, we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view.” “We are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view.”

But in fact Ahmadinejad’s ‘Alternative Christmas Message’ did not offer any insight into what he really thinks and what he really does.

His message offers a pseudo left-wing and pseudo spiritual critique of British and American policy with regard to the ‘war against terror’.

But in reality Ahmadinejad is an antisemite and a tyrant. He supports and arms antisemitic terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah which want to kill Jews and who want to ‘wipe Israel off the map‘. Ahmadinejad is an active Holocaust denier and he gives material and political support to Holocaust deniers.

In reality Ahmadinejad supports the violent suppression of strikes and the killing of Trade unionists.

In reality Ahmadinejad allows the stoning of adulterers in Iran and he sanctions the execution of gay people.

If Dorothy Byrne wants us to know about the “alternative world view” which Ahmadinejad stands for, then why doesn’t C4 news and current affairs tell us about it, instead of offering lies and propaganda?

Does Byrne believe that Ahmadinejad’s “message” was what he really thinks and what he really does or is she aware that it is just dishonest propaganda? Would C4 offer us a message from Ahmadinejad in which he really said what he thinks? Would it carry his Holocaust denial, his racism, his bigotry, his propaganda?

What kind of negotiations went on between C4 and Ahmadinejad beforehand? Was it agreed explicitly, for example, that he wouldn’t include homophobic or antisemitic statements or was it just understood that he would be too smart to do so?

More from here.

BRICUP is sniffing round Israeli academics, not boycotting them – Paul Frosh (HUJ)

Paul Frosh

Paul Frosh

I recently received a surprisingly friendly e-mail from BRICUP. It was optimistically entitled ‘Working Together for Academic Freedom’ and was addressed to me as an Israeli academic. It was signed by Haim Bresheeth and Jonathan Rosenhead. This is what it said:

“This message is a follow-up to last summer’s petition, of which you were a signatory, that called for freedom of movement, academic study and instruction to be available as of right for both staff and students in the Occupied Territories.

We are sending this message on behalf of BRICUP (the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine) of which we are both members. The Committee has asked us to say that they were heartened by this evidence that there are some hundreds of Israeli academics who are willing to take a stand for their Palestinian colleagues and for their principles.

We are writing to you, and also to other signatories, as we feel it can only be advantageous to establish contact with fellow academics who evidently share at least some of our perspective. That said, we need to stress that in our view the issues covered in your petition are only a small part of the problems resulting from the occupation and the associated policies of the Israeli government. There are evidently far stronger criticisms that can be made after more than four decades of illegal and increasingly brutal occupation.

It is BRICUP’s clear view that the only satisfactory solution is a complete end of the Occupation and the removal of the settlements. We would be happy to enter into dialogue with you about how academic opinion on these issues can be mobilised to still better effect. We would be interested, for example, in your views on the situation of the many hundreds of Gaza students currently prevented from taking up university places abroad, and how pressure might be applied to end this lamentable situation.

Yours sincerely”

The petition to which they refer, and which I and many other Israeli academics signed last summer, is here.

This communication from the leaders of the campaign in Britain to boycott Israeli academia appears to be a remarkable volte-face. Only a few weeks ago these people were resolutely refusing to talk to me at all (not that I made any overtures), simply because I am an Israeli academic. Now I have made it onto their party list and they seem to feel that I show enough promise to warrant a friendly lecture about the ultimate inadequacies of my position. Plus – oh joy of joys – they would be “happy to enter into a dialogue” with me. Clearly the spirit of goodwill to all men has been deeply imbibed.

A nagging question remains, however. Why don’t they favour me – and the other Israeli academics who were sent this e-mail – with an honest account of who they are and what they have been up to? Why don’t they mention that they have been vociferous advocates of the academic boycott of Israel? Surely they are not ashamed of their record? Surely, in this sudden surge of cooperation and generosity, they would not wish their new approved Israeli comrades to harbour any misapprehensions about their real views?

BRICUP would find any such admission unthinkable, of course. Because once you know who they are, what they have done, and what they have failed to disclose in this sanctimonious e-mail, there is only one question left to ask: why would an Israeli academic want to enter into a dialogue with them?

Paul Frosh

Journalism and Communications

Hebrew University Jerusalem

Paul Frosh is, amongst other things, author of this classic Engage piece about joint work and co-operation between Israeli and Palestinian academics.

UK Government slams C4 over Ahmadinejad Christmas Message

A foreign and commonwealth office spokeswoman said today that the move would cause offence around the world.

“President Ahmadinejad has during his time in office made a series of appalling anti-Semitic statements,” she said. “The British media are rightly free to make their own editorial choices, but this invitation will cause offence and bemusement not just at home but amongst friendly countries abroad.”

Reported in the Guardian.

Text of Ahmadinejad’s ‘alternative Christmas message’ on C4

Proudly displayed on Channel 4’s website herec4-logo.

Peter Tatchell calls on C4 to pull the plug on Ahmadinejad

tatchellFrom Peter Tatchell’s website:

“Channel Four is aiding and abetting a tyrant. President Ahmadinejad is a torturer and a murderer. His regime executes children, journalists, Sunni Muslims, gay people, political activists and ethnic minorities. This is the equivalent of giving Robert Mugabe a prime-time television slot to promote his propaganda. It is an insult to more than 100,000 Iranian dissidents who have been slaughtered since the Islamic fundamentalists seized power in 1979,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

He was commenting on the decision by Britain’s Channel Four Television to broadcast the Iranian President delivering The Alternative Christmas Message on Christmas Day. It will be transmitted soon after the Queen delivers her traditional Christmas Message to the nation.

Mr Tatchell is calling on Channel Four to:

“Pull the plug on this criminal despot, who ranks with Robert Mugabe, Omar al-Bashir of Sudan and the Burmese military junta as one of the world’s most bloody tyrants.

“Channel Four executives would not being giving Ahmadinejad this propaganda coup if it was their partners or children who were being tortured in Evin prison, Tehran.

“This Christmas, thousands of Iranian families are grief-stricken. Their loved ones have been jailed, tortured and executed. Instead of inviting one of them deliver The Alternative Christmas Message, Channel Four is giving airtime to the man responsible for their loved ones’ suffering.

According to Channel Four’s advance text of President Ahmadinejad’s broadcast, his speech includes the following:

“Jesus, the Son of Mary, is the standard bearer of justice, of love for our fellow human beings, of the fight against tyranny, discrimination and injustice….
“If Christ were on earth today, undoubtedly He would hoist the banner of justice and love for humanity to oppose warmongers, occupiers, terrorists and bullies the world over….
“I pray for the New Year to be a year of happiness, prosperity, peace and brotherhood for humanity.”

“Ahmadinejad’s soft words are pure propaganda. They bear no relationship to the bloody, repressive policies that he is pursuing against his own people,” commented Mr Tatchell.

“Trade union, student and women’s rights activists are beaten, jailed and tortured. His government is pursuing a racist, ethnic cleansing policy against Iran’s minority nationalities, such as the Arabs, Kurds and Baluchs.

“According to Human Rights Watch, in March this year an Iranian parliament member, Hossein Ali Shahryari, confirmed that 700 people were awaiting execution in Sistan and Baluchistan province, which is only one of Iran’s many provinces. Many of those on death row are Baluch political prisoners. This staggering number of death sentences is evidence of the intense, savage repression that is taking place under the leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Click to access iran.pdf

“In 2004, in the city of Neka, a 16 year old girl, Atefah Rajabi Sahaaleh, who had been raped and sexually abused by men for many years, was convicted of “crimes against chastity.” She was hanged by the method of slow, painful strangulation, hoisted by a crane in a public square.

“Ahmadinejad’s regime exports terrorism. He supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Badr Corps in Iraq, which kill innocent civilians and target dissidents for assassination. The Islamist death squads in Iraq are trained, armed and funded by Tehran. They murder anyone who does not conform to their harsh interpretation of Islam,” said Mr Tatchell.

From Peter Tatchell’s website

C4 chose an antisemite, tyrant and holocaust denier to give alternative Xmas message

AhmadinejadMahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, is to give Channel 4’s ‘alternative Christmas message’ tomorrow.

Dorothy Byrne, who is Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs said: “we are offering our viewers an insight into an alternative world view.”

The alternative world view of which she speaks is a murderously antisemitic one. It is also militantly anti lesbian and gay, anti working class, anti liberal, anti democratic, anti secular and anti feminist.

It is an indication of the increasing acceptability of antisemitism amongst some sections of antiracist left and liberal public opinion in Britain that Channel 4 would even consider hosting this man, let alone in such a prestigious and high profile editorial slot.

When Ahmadinejad addressed the UN General Assembly in September he said the following:

“The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a minuscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the US in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner.”

“It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premiere nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support.”

Ahmadinejad uses classic Hitlerian rhetoric which compares the Jewish state to an infections disease: “They have created a filthy black germ known as the Zionist regime”

Matthias Küntzel on Ahmadinejad, here and here and here:

“Ahmadinejad does not say “Jews” are conspiring to rule the world. Instead he says, “Two thousand Zionists want to rule the world.” “The Zionists have imposed themselves on a substantial portion of the banking, financial, cultural, and media sectors.” “The Zionists” fabricated the Danish Muhammad cartoons. “The Zionists thrive on war and hatred. Everywhere they exist there is war.”[11] The pattern is familiar. He invests the word “Zionist” with exactly the same meaning Hitler poured into “Jew”: the incarnation of evil. Anyone who makes Jews – whether as “Judas” or as “Zionist” – responsible for all the ills of the world is obviously driven by antisemitism. He must want to eliminate Israel, as the “germ of evil”, in order to “save” the world.”