For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
One of the new realities of the internet age for the mainstream media is that the distinction between an opinion piece and the readers’ comments which come below it is increasingly blurred. This is all the more so for interactive sites such as the Guardian’s immensely popular Comment is free (Cif) site where regular “below the line” contributors are now as much a part of the overall experience as the commentary to which they are responding. Such contributors help create the kind of interactive community which has become the new holy grail of online news and comment services.
So, when it comes to the Guardian’s notoriously vicious stance against the state of Israel it is hardly suprising that the community that has been created draws from among the foulest and most bigoted of the Jewish state’s numerous opponents. As an example, consider the following comment by regular below-the-line contributor William Bapthorpe which was brought to my attention by the invaluable media watchdog service CiF Watch. Referring to the settlers, in a thread following an article by Nicholas Blincoe, he said:
“Sadly, there’s only one way to deal with these religiously motivated maniacs who think their superstitious beliefs trump international law. 1. We ask them to leave their squats, kindly. 2. If they don’t, we force them to [leave] at gunpoint. 3. If they still refuse, they must be slaughtered, every last man woman and child.” (My italics)
If this were simply an isolated incident it would not be worth remarking on. Every website attracts its share of oddballs. But CiF Watch, which was set up last year to monitor a Guardian online community that attracts more than 30 million visits a month, provides reams of this sort of thing suggesting that at the intersection between the technological innovations of the new media and an ideological edifice which makes a fetish of demonising the most important Jewish project of our time an entirely new phenomenon has now emerged in Great Britain.
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"