Michael White, Guardian Assistant Editor, cries “Israel” in response to concern over Lord Ahmed’s antisemitism

The Guardian

In February 2009, Labour Peer Lord Nazir Ahmed was sentenced to prison.  He had been texting and driving shortly before being involved in a car accident in which somebody died.

In March 2009, the court of appeal released him and suspended his sentence, saying that keeping him in prison would hinder his work “building bridges between the Muslim world and others.”

Last year Lord Ahmed gave an interview in Urdu in Pakistan in which he claimed that a secret conspiracy of Jews in the media, the judiciary and in government had had him imprisoned, ostensibly for texting while driving, but actually because of “his support for Palestinians in Gaza”.

Today, The Times newspaper published an English translation of Ahmed’s comments.  Later in the day, the Labour Party suspended Lord Ahmed’s membership saying that it  “deplores and does not tolerate any sort of anti-semitism.”

Daniel Finkelstein is the Executive Editor and a leader writer of the Times.

Michael White is Assistant Editor at the Guardian.

Here, courtesey of Cifwatch is the exchange between the two on Twitter:

white 3

Later, White tweets the following, in order to make himself clearer: “@GuidoFawkes Ah, but the problem here is ” why did saintly DF go after the BBC over Ahmed (surely legal?) delay. What was his sub-text?”

White’s point is that when a newspaper exposes a clear example of anti-Jewish racism, or asks why the BBC has not run with the story, then it is right to look for a sub-text, a hidden reason underlying the exposé.  Finkelstein is described as “saintly” – IE “not saintly” – not innocent, but really its opposite.

Why?  What is suspicious about a newspaper exposing clear and serious racist sentiment articulated by a Labour Peer?

Well, White seems to think that the story should be contextualized, or balanced by, or mitigated by, or explained by, the bad behaviour of those Jews who organise or who defend or who facilitate settlements in the West Bank.

Or perhaps it is a tu quoque point.  Perhaps he is saying that YOU also behave badly, YOU also have double standards.

YOU being Finkelstein, The Times, acting for the Israel Lobby, or for the pro-settlement lobby, or for “The Jews”, as Lord Ahmed would put it.

Senior figures at The Guardian increasingly act as though antisemitism in public life is no longer a story in itself.

Michael White is a man who seems to think that anybody who raises the issue of antisemitism has to be inspected for subtexts or for prior motives or for cunning plans.

Antisemitism is no longer just, simply, and on its own, to be condemned, exposed, explained and opposed.  Now we have to ask whether the Jew crying antisemitism was wearing a short skirt at the time, or had had a drink, or had been nagging the antisemite.  What did the Jews do to deserve this antisemitic treatment?

It happens very often, that a person who raises the issue of antisemitism is accused of doing so in bad faith, dishonestly, as part of a secret ‘sub-text’ of  trying to de-legitimize criticism of  Israel.  See The Livingstone Formulation.

David Hirsh

Lord Ahmed blames conviction on Jewish conspiracy

It is being reported today(£) that Lord Ahmed blamed his prison sentence for dangerous driving back in 2009 on a Jewish conspiracy. These deplorable (and ridiculous) accusations were allegedly made in a TV interview back in April 2012:

Lord Ahmed claimed that his prison sentence for dangerous driving resulted from pressure placed on the courts by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”. Britain’s first male Muslim peer also alleged that the judge who jailed him for 12 weeks was appointed to the High Court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair during “an important case”.

He claimed, falsely, that Mr Justice Wilkie was hand-picked and sent from London to carry out the 2009 sentencing at Sheffield Crown Court because no other judge was willing to handle his case. The alleged plot to punish him stemmed, Lord Ahmed claimed, from Jewish disapproval of his support for the Palestinians in Gaza. His comments were made during a television interview on a visit to Pakistan.

Although Lord Ahmed was suspended from the Labour Party following allegations that he had announced a bounty on George Bush and President Obama, he was later reinstated following an investigation.  He has been involved in several other controversial episodes:

 In 2009, Ahmed joined forces with a number of British-based Islamists to sign a letter praising Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he walked out of a debate with President Shimon Peres at the Davos Conference in Switzerland.

In 2005, Ahmed hosted a book launch in the House of Lords for an activist who frequently uses anti-Semitic language in his work. Russian-born Israel Shamir claimed that blood libels against the Jews were in fact true and that all political parties were Zionist infiltrated.

In an interview on the Iranian mouthpiece Press TV during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, Ahmed said that Jewish student groups actively recruited for the IDF. He said that British Jews who served in the IDF should be arrested and, if necessary, charged with war crimes.

It is to be hoped the Labour Party will take swift and decisive action if these allegations prove founded.

Update: He has now been suspended.

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