Thursday, 14 March 2013

Lord Ahmed update

Now that the Labour party have suspended Lord Ahmed, the BBC have started to report the Lord Ahmed story albeit so far just as a breaking news banner -'BREAKING NEWS: Labour Party suspends Lord Ahmed from membership following allegations of anti-Jewish remarks'
Here's my original story.

Meanwhile The Guardian's associate editor and former political editor. Michael White has been tweeting re this matter and one of those tweets was very strange.

Settlements? What relevance to this story about a Muslim Labour peer being accused of hate speech do the so-called Israeli Settlements have?

I asked Michael White some followup questions

Here's his somewhat aggressive reply

Michael White has not responded.

Two other tweets seem relevant here.

I obviously know of Michael White, not reading The Guardian I don't read much of his work, but I see him interviewed occasionally. Does he have a problem with Israel? Is he inclined to disparagingly refer to Israel when there is no need? I dod some digging... The JC reports in 2009:
'The indefatigable Robin Shepherd highlights a jaw dropping comment by Michael White, Assistant Editor of the Guardian:
In a discussion on security for political leaders pegging off the assault on
Silvio Berlusconi the other day, White talked meanderingly about previous
attacks on political leaders and, understandably for a British discussion show, brought in the case of Northern Ireland where Unionists and Nationalists in the main desisted from assassinating each others leaders. And then, like a flash of lightening out of a clear blue sky, this:
“In Israel they murder each other a great deal. The Israeli Defense Forces
murder people because they don’t like their political style and what they’ve got to say and it only means that people more extreme come in and take their

No interruption from the BBC moderator of course — apart from an approving “hmm”. No one to stop such appalling, defamatory lies in their tracks. There it is. On the record. A vicious calumny about Israel, pumping yet more sewage into the public mind as the Jewish state is portrayed as nothing better than a violent, totalitarian dictatorship which silences political dissent through the barrel of a gun.
 Mr White has a habit of making throwaway remarks which seem almost calculated to offend. But even from him, this is especially outrageous.

I did have a quick look at his Wikipedia entry (I know...)
With regard to the Israel-Palestine conflict, in July 2006 he stated that as he gets older his sympathies are shifting back to Israel.
White, in discussing media self-censorship in March 2011, says, "I have always sensed liberal, middle class ill-ease in going after stories about immigration, legal or otherwise, about welfare fraud or the less attractive tribal habits of the working class, which is more easily ignored altogether. Toffs, including royal ones, Christians, especially popes, governments of Israel, and US Republicans are more straightforward targets."

If this morning's tweets are anything to go by, if Michael White's 'sympathies are shifting back to Israel' as he gets older then I shudder to think what his former self would have written in these circumstances.

As I went to post this piece I noticed that the BBC have finally put a report on the Lord Ahmed story up on their website

The one line that struck me was this: 'He was freed by the Court of Appeal after serving 16 days of the sentence because of "exceptional" mitigation relating to his community work.' As my original post reported, that community work was building bridges between the Muslim world and others. Lord Ahmed is doing a stand up job building bridges with Jews isn't he?!

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