UK paper fires anti-Israel writer for supporting London riots (& Libya deaths underreported)

August 11, 2011

* But The Independent didn’t object to the same writer two weeks ago blaming the Norwegian massacre on “Zionism”

* London University event planned: “Riots, Recession, Resistance”

* 85 Libyan civilians, including 33 children and 32 women, “killed in botched NATO air raid”; Rupert Murdoch-owned media report properly on the victims; leftist media don’t

Monika Konczyk, who arrivd in London four months ago from Poland, jumps from the window after her home was set alight

London rioters “go shopping”



1. UK paper fires anti-Israel writer for supporting London riots
2. The perpetrators include teachers
3. London University event planned: “Riots, Recession, Resistance”
4. Huffington Post also dissociates itself from the same writer
5. Not the first time Israel has been called “shitty” in The Independent
6. The Independent forced to apologize for Robert Fisk, pays substantial damages
7. 85 Libyan civilians apparently killed in NATO air raid; Western media quiet
8. Finally, Obama set to tell Assad that he should step down
9. Ethiopian-Israeli elected Deputy Knesset Speaker

[All notes below by Tom Gross]


The British paper The Independent has fired its online columnist Jody McIntyre following his support for the violence in London this week, in which hundreds of ordinary people were beaten up, had their homes and businesses wrecked, and in some cases were murdered.

As a writer for the online edition of The Independent, McIntyre had regularly been allowed by the paper to argue that Israel should not exist and was a “racist” and “apartheid state.”

Last month in a piece for The Independent he alleged that “Zionism” was to blame for the massacre in Norway perpetrated by Andres Behring Breivik.

The Independent – a paper which is a popular daily read among British schoolteachers and academics, and whose chief Middle East correspondent is the notorious Robert Fisk – apparently welcomed McIntyre’s smears on Israel and “Zionists”.

Only last month he wrote another article for The Independent (an article which remains on the paper’s website) calling Israel “a rogue state”.

But The Independent was forced to take action yesterday after The Daily Mail, a right-of-centre British daily, cited McIntyre’s tweets in support of the London rioters, such as this one:

“Be inspired by the scenes in #tottenham, and rise up in your own neighbourhood. 100 people in every area = the way we can beat the feds.”



Tom Gross adds: Far from all being “deprived” and “jobless” as many media commentators assumed, the first London rioters charged in London courts yesterday included an assistant primary school teacher, a trainee accountant, a law student, a graphic designer, a dental assistant, a postal employee, an army recruit, and other professionals, and the rioters and looters used the newest and most expensive models of BlackBerry phones to coordinate their criminal activities. Some of those arrested gave home addresses to police of houses and apartments worth more than $500,000.

There was dismay among many in Britain that the BBC insisted on calling the rioters “protestors” until the BBC finally relented and called them rioters. (In the wake of the 7/7 London terror attacks, the BBC said that to use the word “terrorist” would be a “barrier to understanding” – for more on that, see here.)

This short video of a young Malaysian honors student who had just been beaten up in London, with blood streaming from his face, being helped up by “Good Samaritans” only to then be mugged by them, has now been watched by 2.5 million people on YouTube.



A group calling itself “Coalition of Resistance: Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay” is organizing an event called “Riots, Recession, Resistance” at the University of London.

Among the speakers is Labour MP John McDonnell, and Andrew Murray, an activist for the British Communist party which has praised North Korea (where incidentally there is nothing to loot, and anyone who tried it would probably then have their entire family wiped out.)

This is the event poster:



The Huffington Post has now followed suit and removed its interview with McIntyre about the riots, replacing it with “an Editor’s note” which states:

“The Huffington Post’s editorial policy prohibits the promotion of incitement to riot. It has been brought to our attention that some of the comments made by the interviewee in this article could be construed as inciting others to take part in unlawful activity. As such, we have removed this post.”


In January this year, McIntyre gave an address to the London Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in which he said:

“I say this at a time when people across the Arab world are setting alight to themselves in protest against their governments. We must take inspiration from them this year when we set the streets of London alight.”

Jody McIntyre has been a regular guest “expert” on BBC World News programs.

The Independent also recently suspended another of its writers, Johann Hari, for allegedly making up quotes -- though The Independent has taken no action in the case of Hari’s regular slurs on Israel.

For example, in a column for The Independent in 2008, Hari wrote: “Whenever I try to mouth these words [of reassurance for Israel], a remembered smell fills my nostrils. It is the smell of shit.”

For more on Hari, a former winner of the prestigious British journalism award, the Orwell Prize for political writing, see: Journalist of the year calls Israel “shit,” as Israel marks Holocaust Memorial Day

London burning this week



Nine years ago I wrote an article in which I said the following:

Deborah Orr, a columnist for The Independent, writes “anti-Semitism is disliking all Jews, anywhere, and anti-Zionism is just disliking the existence of Israel and opposing those who support it. This may be an academic rather than a practical distinction, and one which has no connection with holding the honest view that in my experience Israel is shitty and little.”

In her article, in which she described Israel as “shitty” and “little” no fewer than four times, Orr was supporting remarks made by the then French Ambassador to London Daniel Bernard.

(Please see for the full article.)


Deborah Orr remained a columnist for The Independent for years after that, before she was snapped up by The Guardian where she is now a columnist. She continues to be invited to appear on BBC radio and television programs.



Last week (on August 4), The Independent published the following small item tucked away on its foreign news pages:

“In his Friday essay on 15 April 2011 (‘The Arab Awakening – a long time coming”) Robert Fisk quoted from an order said to have been issued by the Saudi Minister of the Interior, HRH Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud on 11 March, in which he alleged that Prince Nayef ordered his security forces to show no mercy and to use live rounds on unarmed demonstrators.

Although the essay was published in good faith, we now accept that the ‘Order’ in question is in fact a forgery, and that Prince Nayef did not issue any such order. We apologise sincerely to Prince Nayef for the damage and embarrassment which our reporting of it has caused him.”


However, what The Independent declined to tell its readers is that they paid what the BBC described as “substantial” damages to Prince Nayef, who has been Saudi interior minister for over 40 years.

Yet The Independent has never apologized for years of slanderous and false reporting by Fisk on Israel. For example, in 2006, in a story that occupied the entire front page of The Independent, Fisk claimed that Israel had used uranium-based weapons against Lebanon. To this day, this fabricated story remains online on the paper’s website with no retraction from Fisk or The Independent, and continues to be linked to and cited by pro-Jihadist websites as well as neo-Nazi ones.

The Independent’s editor at the time was a British Jew called Simon Kelner who apparently didn’t mind his writers providing concocted material for anti-Semites.

Apparently threats by Saudi Arabia against The Independent work, but polite requests by democratic governments like Israel’s to tell the truth don’t.


Among past dispatches on Fisk, please see this one from November 4, 2004:

* Osama Bin Laden praises Robert Fisk

* I also noted in another earlier dispatch in 2004 that when The Independent asked convicted Holocaust denier David Irving for a quote about his plans for a lecture tour of Britain, he replied: “I will be happy to assist any journalist on the newspaper that publishes Robert Fisk.”



Western journalists were shown many of the bodies, including a baby girl aged two still in her diapers (nappies), who the Libyans say were among at least 85 civilians killed in an air raid on Monday on the city of Majar in the eastern part of the country. NATO said the air strikes on villages near the town were designed to open the way for anti-Qaddafi ground forces to enter the town, and that intelligence provided to it was that the targets would be of a “military” nature.

The few Western journalists that did report prominently on this attack said they saw at least 30 body bags at a local hospital on Monday evening. For example, The (Rupert Murdoch-owned) Times of London mentioned the deaths on their front page yesterday and led its international news coverage with the story. The Times named some of the child victims that their correspondent saw and reported that 33 children and 32 women were among the victims and that “several farm houses had been reduced to rubble”.

But other papers, which are regularly hysterical about the slightest thing Israel might or might not have done, such as The Independent, buried the story about the death of so many Libyan civilians at the hands of American and European pilots, and mentioned it in only a single paragraph within another story on page 25 in yesterday’s paper, although it did acknowledge in passing that “20 Libyan families had been killed by NATO”.

One can only imagine the reaction of the so-called anti-war movement and the international liberal-left media if Israel, rather than American and European jets had killed members of 20 Arab families on Monday?


The BBC World Service Radio finally reported this morning on Monday night’s NATO killings in Libya on in its World News Hour, noting that among the rubble were fridges, pots and pans, children’s items and so on. But the BBC ran its report only 41 minutes into its News Hour – squeezed between relatively trivial stories about smoking and about ladybird spiders. Several times per week the same BBC World News Hour runs lead stories attacking Israel.



After months of inaction and confusion about what to do, and as the Syrian regime continued to murder dozens of people every day in towns throughout Syria, the Obama administration is preparing to explicitly demand the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials said yesterday as the State Department signaled for the first time that American efforts to “engage” the Syrian government are finally being abandoned.

The Associated Press reported that “The new formulation will make it clear that Assad can no longer be a credible reformist and should leave power.”

Tom Gross adds: Obama’s stance against Assad comes only after Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia recalled their ambassadors from Damascus on Sunday. Some commentators hailed it as one of Obama’s foreign policy “achievements” that he used a “recess appointment” to send an American ambassador to Syria at the end of last year, bypassing Republicans in Congress who had tried to block this engagement with Assad given his long-running central support for terrorist groups such as Hizbullah and Hamas (which is headquartered in Damascus), and his probable murder of the former Lebanese Prime Minister. Now that even Syria’s fellow Arab dictators have withdrawn their ambassadors, the U.S. will, I would guess, soon follow suit.

Even many of Obama’s most ardent admirers can’t understand the American administration’s perplexing refusal to call for the resignation of Assad during months of violence against peaceful civilians.


Among past dispatches on Syria please see:

* Peres tells Arab media “Assad must go,” and Netanyahu again hints at it too
* Syria’s Assad is worse than Gaddafi in many ways



Shlomo Molla, an Ethiopian-born member of parliament for Israel’s centrist Kadima party, was elected deputy Knesset speaker yesterday.

Consequently, on occasions when both Israeli President Shimon Peres and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin are abroad, Molla would serve as Israel’s acting president.

Molla (pictured below) moved to Israel from the Gondar province of Ethiopia at age 19 in 1984. Ethiopians continue to make good progress in many areas of life in Israel.

[All notes above by Tom Gross]

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.