The Canary Ate My Hamster

To know what an inflammatory issue the Arab-Israeli conflict is, is to know that there are those who have already dismissed these words because of my use of the word ‘conflict’. That’s where we are.

The policing on both sides of this issue is so fiercely enforced that I have always been wary of entering into it with either side, and most of all this includes my parents who are pro-Israel to the point where discussing it could ruin yet another Christmas:

“You cannot say ‘we made the desert bloom’ anymore. THIS IS 2016!”


“Pass the stuffing.”

But that is not what this is about.

However, seeing as this post involves Israel – and my surname is a tad Semitic – I better lay my ideological cards on the table:

*deep breath*

I support the Palestinian right to self-determination; I stand for a peace that includes security for both Palestinian and Jewish people alike. I stand against Israeli right-wing expansionist policy, (pretty much any right-wing policy) and heavy-handed military reprisals. I also stand against Hamas who do not have the best interests of their people at heart and quote The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion in their manifesto. As Hitler used this fabricated document as his warrant for genocide, I’m just not that into it.

*and exhale*

It’s an extremely simplified position but that’s roughly where I stand on Israel/Palestine – in the wishy-washy middle –  so what’s the point in entering into the debate when all I can offer is an unwanted lecture on tolerance and a two-state  solution?

Pass the sprouts.

Recently I began to feel the need to become more involved as a few ‘items’ started appearing on my Facebook feed which were overtly or covertly antisemitic. I needed to know why.

Having been on Facebook for nine years I had never seen anything apart from legitimate criticism of Israel so it came as something as a shock.  Antisemitism is often hidden and thus unknowingly propagated so the cause can require a little excavating to get to the nub. Most of the routes in seem to revolve around conspiracy theories but there are other less travelled roads and thus a few days ago I found myself reading The Canary.

the canary

The Canary is an alternative online news publication. It was founded by Kerry-Anne Mendoza who is on the radical left and an activist in the Occupy movement. The Canary was originally a blog called Scriptonite Daily which had nearly 10000 subscribers. It morphed into a news website after Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the opposition in order to put some positive spin on the man who was getting flayed alive by The Mainstream Media (MSM).  All fair enough.

Whatever anyone’s feeling about  Jeremy Corbyn there is no doubt that he was stigmatised by an extremely hostile media – particularly in those first few months. Thus it is rational that his supporters should look elsewhere for the news. However that is where my diplomacy ends. After reading a disturbing story in Private Eye a few days ago and doing a little research, I found The Canary to be nothing better than what I would expect from a Paul Dacre rag. I must say at this point there will be no political point scoring about Jeremy Corbyn here…

That is not what this is about.

To sum up the Private Eye article:-  it condemns The Canary for using ‘click-bait’ to lure traffic from tabloid newspapers to their own site, basically using the same deceitful tactics employed by the publications they profess to be against. It goes on to say that journalists on The Canaryturn tricks for clicks’ so employees get paid in direct correlation to how much traffic their article receives. Not how truthful, insightful or accurate their reporting is. The Eye also mentions one of the Canary’s leading journalists posting a series of anti-Jewish tweets and – as has become almost a daily ritual – I perform an epically long sigh.

The tweets come from The Canary’s own ‘firebrand’ journalist Steve Topple who is also a member of The Trade Union and Socialist Coalition.
Here are just a few of his greatest hits:



Topple 1

Over a series of three years 2013-2015 he posted tweets that are obscenely antisemitic. As a committed conspiracy theorist he found himself hobnobbing with Neo-Nazis and far right morons.

As all antisemites on the left quickly find out, they end up having more in common with the far right than they do with their own. You can find out more about him and his twitter mates here but that is only for those with strong stomachs.

After three years of racism Mr. Topple apologised. I believe his apology, just a shame it came at around the same time his journalistic career moved on to things.

Referring to his tweets he opines… ‘they have appeared to be disparaging to Jewish people.’ Not that they were disparaging, they just appeared so. I don’t believe that needs any further comment.

So next I wanted to take a look at yer actual Canary. First article was about Israel.

It’s headline:

Israel is paying Facebook to spread a cruel lie about the Palestinians

You can read the Canary article here but to summarise:
The Israeli government have arrested Waheed Borsh who works for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Israeli’s claim that Borsh has been subverting money from a vital aid programme and giving it to Hamas to make weapons instead of rebuilding houses.

The article moves on to mention Israel itself; mainly the killing of 2000 people during the conflict in Gaza two years ago and also dismisses accusations that Hamas are a terrorist organisation. Although I would like to comment on the latter claim, I am not taking issue with anything the article says about the situation in Gaza or Hamas…

You see, that is not what this is about.

From what I already knew about this story, coupled with a little research from such unfashionable sources as The Independent, I pieced together what we actually know for sure:

We know the guy has been arrested. We know the Israelis say there is evidence to show that he’s guilty. We know that Hamas says it’s a lie. We know the UN demands a fair trial. We know the UNDP is concerned but have doubts that as much as $22 million has been siphoned. That’s all we know, so how do we come to an informed decision?

Well we can’t. That’s the point. Unless we see the evidence and come to said decision.

The reason I am so interested in this article is that it actually seems quite a unifying story in a sense. Let’s say the man in question is guilty; it would be in the best interests of the Palestinian people to find out where their aid has gone whilst it’s in the best interests of Israel to stop Hamas arming itself. Palestinians and Israelis sharing a common interest? Sounds good to me. But gleefully not for The Canary. They claim the guy is innocent and the Israeli’s are lying. How do they know? They don’t, of course. So The Canary is lying and in the process they have taken a potentially unifying cause and used it drive people further apart on what is already the most polarised issue on planet Earth. I think that’s pretty despicable. The Canary is not a solution to the problem, it is a perpetuation of it.

Or maybe not, because the Canary article goes on to say:
But despite the Israeli authorities’ assertive language, ‘indicted’ does not mean ‘convicted’. It means he is accused of the deed, but it is still to be proven that the deed was done.’

Well that’s alright then.

Until you remember that the headline says it is ‘A cruel lie.’ That’s some double-think right there.

The UN have demanded an open and transparent fair trial. The Independent  reported:

‘Responding on Monday to the Israeli indictment against Mr Halabi, the U.N. Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Robert Piper, called for a fair and transparent trial.

“If proven by a due legal process, these actions deserve unreserved condemnation; Gaza’s demoralized and vulnerable citizens deserve so much better,” he said in a statement.

Well can’t we all at least agree on that?

Also, The Canary only wants to discuss the issue of ‘rubble’ stolen but doesn’t mention any of the money that has allegedly been pilfered. Why?

Amusingly, The Canary article has numerous hyperlinks which keep going back to the same two publications… The Guardian and The Independent – seems they’d be a bit lost without MSM.

Although they are lying and sensationalising, I do not expect folk to feel sorry for Israel because of a smear, far from it.

That is not what this is about.

I think we can assume that some Canary readers take it all with a huge pinch of salt but many clearly use it as replacement for and a reaction against MSM. This may be understandable because of the Corbyn-bashing but is nevertheless not without it’s peril.

Back to the article in question which we’ve deconstructed to a point where we know what’s true, what’s conjecture and what’s a lie. Next question. What is the ‘cruel lie’ being spread about The Palestinian ‘people’? One man has been arrested and charged with an offence. How is that a lie about an entire people as the headline suggests? Talk about inciting hatred…

But sadly it’s far worse than that. The most damning indictment of the whole enchilada is summed up by the opening four words of the headline which I want to take another look at…

Israel is paying Facebook to spread a cruel lie about the Palestinians

So I clicked on the hyperlink on The Canary article and found myself on the Facebook homepage of The Israeli Ministry of Home Affairs.

Well, that was a first.

Now, large professional institutions spend money on social media to get information in the public domain. Political institutions spend money on social media to get information into the public domain. My band pays money to social media to promote our next gig. What is the story here?

Finally we have arrived – well we never really left – at the most vile and despicable trope of all… ‘Israel Is Paying Facebook’ Well of course it pays Facebook! Who doesn’t? It is a sponsored post. Whalley Range Liberal Democrats have a sponsored post. Give me strength.

The problem is that it is purposefully pandering to the most pernicious form of antisemitism. The Jews control the media… that strain again. The Jews control the media, the Jews control the banks, the Jews control my bum.

It recently hit home to me how many people believe or half-believe various bizarre antisemitic conspiracy theories. Sadly there is a prevalence of these beliefs with people who have become disenfranchised with MSM and thus seeking information in dark, dangerous and often intensely antisemitic avenues. If you don’t know, pretty much all conspiracy theories end up at Jew. Jews did 9/11, ISIS stands for Israel Secret Intelligence Service and the mother of them all… The Protocols of The Elders of Zion – a fabricated document published by counter revolutionaries in Russia in 1919. It contributed to Jews being murdered and driven out of their homes during the Pogroms, a contributing factor for my family, who fled to Manchester from Lithuania in 1919.

The document is the minutes of a meeting (which they mislaid – oops)  between the most prominent Jews in the world in 1897, whereby they set out their vision for world domination, control of the banks and the media. It was used by Hitler as his warrant for genocide and belief in this gross fabrication is once again on the rise. People really believe this guff. They walk with us.

As an example; yesterday I confronted the worst offender I know – he believes that 1.25 million Jews died in The Holocaust, that American Jewry orchestrated the whole thing and in fact wanted it to happen  – but more on that another time.
But yes. Really. That’s where virtually all conspiracy theories end up folks, there’s no way around it. Jew, Jew, Jew.

Back to The Canary. Until last year one of their leading journalists Steve Topple was a ‘truther’ who believed all kinds of these racist and crazy conspiracy theories involving Jews. The Canary knows that people who paddle in the pool of Alternative History do so outside The Mainstream Media. The Canary knows what it is doing when it’s first four words are ‘Israel Is Paying Facebook’ because remember, that is not what the story is about!

The Canary knows that it is click-bait for people who believe what it’s own ‘firebrand’ journalist Steve Topper believes/used to believe.

The Canary knows what its doing when it writes this headline.

The author of the piece, Carlyn Harvey, says she is attracted to The Canary because she…  ‘has been struck by the mainstream media’s ability to be as creative with their reporting as she is in her fiction.

I am not saying Carlyn Harvey’s headline or article is antisemitic. But I am saying it panders to antisemitic tropes and it does it knowingly, wilfully and deceitfully.

That is what this is about.

It is gutter gutter journalism and it gives me the same sick feeling I get when I see a headline like The Man Who Hated Britain or Asylum Seekers Go Home. The Canary is playing to the gallery, and the gallery is full of conspiracy theorists and antisemites. My well-meaning friends in the stalls need take note.

I am not against alternative media whatsoever, I just see The Canary 
as The Daily Mail in a different guise.

Former Canary writers interviewed by Buzzfeed said…
‘“You can earn anything from £100 to £4,000 month depending on how viral you go.”

He was also “uneasy about some of the hyperbolic headlines the editors were asking us to come up with for our articles”, which he found “a little embarrassing” and called The Canary’s business model “hyper-capitalistic.”’

The Canary is the answer to The Mainstream Media if the question is: can you find an alternative news stream that is more dangerous and corrupt than The Mainstream Media?

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