Some would call me a masochist. I spend most of my day reading a reactionary blog – one which often advances narratives warning darkly of a dominant “Zionist” lobby which stifles debate and has a corrosive effect on the political system. This blog has been identified as one of the main purveyors of antisemitic hate in the British mainstream media by the CST – the organization dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and responding to antisemitism in the UK.Clearly a glutton for punishment, I also scour the comment section of such posts where I often find quite palpable expressions of hatred towards Jews.This site, home of such far-right views, also happens to be the most widely read blog in the UK – 37 million unique visitors a month. I must admit that I omitted one crucial detail about this blog. It describes itself as a progressive left publication.Comment is Free, the blog of the UK paper, The Guardian, not only brands itself as progressive left, but has stated its aim to become "the world''s leading liberal voice." "Oh, come on", you''re thinking. "Surely the Guardian is an anomaly. The progressive left, by their very nature, are anti-racist and opposed to antisemitism. Expressions of hatred towards minority groups are a phenomenon uniquely prevalent on the right." Well, actually, that''s not the case.As my report for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs demonstrated, some of the more popular progressive left blogs in the US – Huffington Post, Glenn Greenwald and Daily Kos - with extremely large liberal audiences – freely engage in Judeophobic invectives. In addition, the most popular and influential conservative blogs in the US – such as National Review''s blog, The Corner, Hot Air, Instapundit and many others – tend to be strongly philo-Semitic. My follow-up report for the JCPA analyzed the presence of antisemitic cartoons on such progressive sites. Indeed, there is credible polling data that such expressions of bigotry are not anomalous.The failure of the MSM to detect this ideological paradigm shift is a dynamic expressed most clearly as "The Halo Effect," a term popularized by Professor Gerald Steinberg. The expression, broadly, refers to a cognitive bias whereby the perception of one trait is influenced by the perception of another trait of that person or movement. Thus, the progressive left (historically associated with tolerance towards minorities), in the minds of many, simply couldn''t be guilty of ant-Semitism. Note this passage written by a blogger in 2007.
"It is simply true that there are large and extremely influential Jewish donor groups which are agitating for a US war against Iran, and that is the case because those groups are devoted to promoting Israel''s interests…"
While this passage was included in an essay which was posted by both paleoconservative commentator Pat Buchanan and white supremacist David Duke, the piece, notably, originated from one of the more popular bloggers at the progressive left online magazine, Salon.com – Glenn Greenwald.It is frightening that such a passage - advancing the classic antisemitic charges of "dual loyalty," as well as the corrosive effects of Jewish money – wouldn''t exclude Greenwald from the community of progressive left bloggers.Likewise, those in the UK and the US who read the commentaries hostile to Jews at the Guardian seem to enjoy impunity by virtue of the paper''s reputation for possessing a progressive left orientation.What else would possibly explain the frequent presence of Ben White on the pages of Comment is Free? Surely the editors at the Guardian must be aware of White''s notorious essay published in the radical anti-Zionist journal, Counterpunch, titled, "Is it possible to understand the rise in anti-Semitism?", which included this chilling passage:
"I can…understand why some are [anti-Semitic]. One [of the reasons] is… Israel, its ideology of racial supremacy... It is because Zionists have always sought to equate their colonial project with Judaism."
As recently as August 2010, Guardian editor Jonathan Steele warned of the stranglehold the organized Jewish community has on the Obama administration ("The pro-Israel lobbies are powerful and Obama weak," he said), and the media (complaining of the "pressure that pro-Israel campaigners put on the mainstream US media.").Finally, it is illustrative to note that Greenwald''s blog was originally called "Unclaimed Territory" – an apt illustration of how commentators from the new Judeophobic progressive left style themselves as fearless dissidents, bravely charting hitherto unexplored ideological territory.Of course, such antisemitic tropes peddled by the Guardian, Greenwald, and their political fellow travelers, are as old as the diaspora itself. This dark and odious territory has been claimed before.