LONDON – The Guardian has apologized for the timing of an article that
questioned government funding for security for Jewish schools, but has denied
that the story was misleading.
The article on Friday attacked Education
Minister Michael Gove for awarding a £2 million grant to the Community Security
Trust (CST), a Jewish charity that he used to advise, to help pay for security
at Jewish schools across the UK.
“CST is astonished that the Guardian
chose to mark Holocaust Memorial Day by attacking the funding provided by the
government to pay for security at Jewish state schools in England and
“This funding is provided to protect Jewish schools against
terrorism. This is a real threat: Just this week, authorities in Azerbaijan
announced that they had foiled a terrorist plot relating to a Jewish school in
Baku,” CST said on Friday.
According to CST, the story was misleading
because it suggested the Department for Education pays for CST to provide
security at Jewish schools, when in fact the money is only administered by CST
and distributed to schools that employ their own security guards.
added that the Guardian
did not come to the charity for comment ahead of the
CST said the overwhelming bulk of its funding
comes from voluntary donations from the UK Jewish community, and not from the
government. It added that it is grateful for the grant and proud of its
role facilitating it.
“There is no allowance made for CST’s staff time in
administering the funds to each school. In the end the project actually costs
CST money, the exact opposite of the impression given by the
“If the Guardian
had contacted CST for comment before running
the story, we could have explained all of this to them,” CST
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post
on Friday, the Guardian
the story was not misleading, as it included “lengthy” comment from the
Department of Education. It said CST was not contacted because the story did not
claim that the charity had done anything improper.
“The story does not in
any way suggest that the funding of security guards for Jewish schools was
inappropriate, only that Mr. Gove should have stood aside from the grant giving
process given his relationship with CST,” a spokesman said.The Guardian
said it regretted the timing of the article, saying it was entirely
“It was scheduled for publication on Thursday but pushed
back because of the volume of news that day. We should have spotted the
unfortunate timing and regret any offense caused,” the spokesman
After CST contacted the Guardian
, the story was amended to say that
the money is distributed to the schools, which then employ the security guards
“As the trust’s role is essentially administrative, none of
the money is retained by the trust or pays for any of the trust’s work,” the
However, CST said the acknowledgment was not reflected in
the headline or opening paragraph, “which has not been
Questions have also been asked about the source of the story,
said David Miller, an academic from a pressure group called Spinwatch that calls
for transparency in government.
Miller submitted a report against CST at
a hearing for Sheikh Raed Salah – head of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s
northern branch who is currently in the UK fighting deportation – questioning
the charity’s credibility. His report concluded that CST has “a tendency to
treat denunciation of Israel or Zionism as evidence of anti-
has asked Miller for a copy of the
“The issue here is not really to do with CST but the conduct of
the minister, and need for the government to overhaul its transparency rules and
regulations,” Miller told the Post
Popular London-based blog Harry’s
Place accused a website run by Miller of lack of transparency after it
reproduced material from a well known neo-Nazi in 2009.
Speaking to the
, Miller said that after this was pointed out, he personally removed the
material, acknowledged it was racist, and issued an apology.
Harry’s Place said that there has never been any transparency, asking why the
author who used the racist material has not been named and if other postings by
that author had been removed.
Author and Daily Telegraph
Young said on Saturday that nobody was sacked from Miller’s project “for
promoting neo-Nazi anti-Semitism.”
Young said the Guardian
“inadvertently highlights the two biggest weaknesses of Guardian
their knee-jerk opposition to public service reform and their willingness to
regurgitate anti-Semitic propaganda. Given that Gove is a conspicuous
philo-Semite, I daresay he will continue to be targeted. Let’s hope next time
doesn’t rely on the likes of David Miller,” Young said.
Last year, Miller co-authored a report, titled the “Cold War on British Muslims”, which attacked the funding of two prominent London think tanks. Attending the launch of the report, blogger Richard Millett accused it of inflating the role of Jewish/Zionist funding of those organizations to imply that Zionists are behind Islamophobia in the UK.