A struggle over land, home demolitions, and an Israeli government working with Jewish agencies to "develop" the land for the benefit of one group at the expense of another. It could be a picture of the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, but in fact, it's inside Israel – in the Negev.Down the right margin of the page on which the article appears there is a list of articles headed "Related". Top of the list? You've probably guessed what it's about and you won't be surprised at the headline: Antisemitism and the reported world by a chap called Jonathan Boyd who, as clicking on his name shows, has never been published on Cif before.
The Negev, or al-Naqab in Arabic, is an area that since the inception of the state has been targeted by Israeli governments, along with agencies like the Jewish National Fund (JNF), for so-called "development".
This investment in the country's periphery is characterised by systematic discrimination against the Negev's Bedouin population, many of whom live in "unrecognised" villages or townships. Recent developments bring these policies into sharper focus, as well as pointing to fundamental problems with Israel's image as "the Middle East's only democracy".
Let's have a look at a snippet of his ludicrous article:
Apparently, according to Channel 4's Dispatches programme on Monday night, there are some wealthy Jews out there bent on influencing British government policy on Israel. What a shocking finding. I wonder what they will uncover next? Lobbyists trying to influence government health policy, perhaps? Pressure groups seeking to change government policy on the war in Iraq? Business leaders trying to alter government thinking on economic policy?Fascinating stuff but how is it "related" to the article by Ben White. In fairness there are three more articles listed under "Related" and none of them are related to the article by Ben White but are the imbeciles that run Comment is free so terrified of the Israel lobby (that Jonathan Boyd would prefer never to be mentioned in the "reported world") that they have to "relate" any article invoking the false charge of antisemitism to any article criticising Israel?
Aside from the shoddy research and the barely concealed antisemitic undertones (the idea of a shady, morally repugnant "cabal" of Jews seeking to control the world is a classic antisemitic myth), it was this lack of context that was most disturbing about the programme. As David Cesarani argued in his comment on the programme, there are numerous lobbying groups working with government and the media, trying to influence policy and opinion on a wide range of issues. Some of these even try to represent the Palestinian cause.