August 06, 2003


Remember the controversy over a recent Richard Ingrams column in which the old British plonker wrote that he doesn’t read letters from correspondents with Jewish surnames? Here’s an update:

The British Press Complaints Commission last week justified an Observer newspaper columnist who announced in his column that he does not intend to read pro-Israel letters if they are signed by people with Jewish names.

According to the complaints commission, the position taken by the columnist, Richard Ingrams, is legitimate.

The question remains: how does he know which names are Jewish?

Posted by Tim Blair at August 6, 2003 01:58 AM

How does he know the name's Jewish? Not understanding the point. There's a wide body of knowledge defining "Jewishness", by name, relatives, progenitors and looks. He's a writer and a scholar. He probably has the "Riech Racial Codes" on his night stand, covering Big Brothers "Goodthink and the end of debate."

Like and idiot, posted to wrong entry. Hence the name. Sorry for littering your comments.

Posted by: gimpy at August 6, 2003 at 03:17 AM

Tim: He'll know by whether or not the names are attached to letters supporting Israel. After all, it's ridiculous to believe that a gentile would support the murderous Israeli fascists. Come on. Don't you watch the ABC?

Posted by: Yobbo at August 6, 2003 at 04:08 AM

Ooh! I know! They all look alike?

Posted by: CGeib at August 6, 2003 at 04:22 AM

Yobbo has a point. I've been asked if I'm Jewish many times because of the positions I've taken on Israel. When I reply I'm not, sometimes there is confusion as to why a non-Jew would support Israel. It's possible the columnist may subscribe to this belief and toss out any mail that supports Israel on the grounds it *must* have come from Jews.

I've found the idea that *only* Jews will support Israel's right to defend itself and exist quite strange. I'm not sure where people get such ideas, but I know they have them because I have encountered them.

If you can convince the person who questions you that you aren't Jewish the common come back is you *must* be influenced by the 'Zionist Controlled' press. If you were allowed to see the 'real truth' you'd know how terrible the Israelis are, etc.. ad naseum.

Sometimes it feels as if I've entered another reality. It's hard to comprehend the beliefs that some hold so dear. (Like the world-wide Zionist Conspiracy of Jews who control everything!!)

Posted by: Chris Josephson at August 6, 2003 at 04:24 AM

I'm an ex-Christian atheist and I've been accused of being on Ariel Sharon's payroll because I keep insisting that Israelis have a right to defend themselves.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 6, 2003 at 05:05 AM

Funny ......... you don't look it.

Posted by: Jonny at August 6, 2003 at 05:28 AM

Just use a pseudomym. For instance if your name is Menachem Goldfarb you just change your name to Heywood Jablomi or Rod Gozinya.

And why is impossible that and ex-Christian atheist could be on Ariel Sharon's payroll. I sure he has several Jewish atheists on his payroll. Not that I believe you are, that was just a strange statement.

Posted by: D2D at August 6, 2003 at 06:02 AM

Quiz time for Mr Ingrams:

Which of these people (all Americans personally known to me) are Jews, and which are gentile?

A Mr Banks
B Mr Kaufman
C Ms Leonardson
D Mr McFadden
E Ms Mitchell

Ans: A, D, E - the three Anglo names.

Posted by: Rich Rostrom at August 6, 2003 at 06:31 AM

Seems odd to me, since last names pass patrilineally, but Jewishness passes matrilineally. Hence the abundance of gentiles named Goldberg.

Posted by: LabRat at August 6, 2003 at 06:34 AM

From my experience, the comeback is then "you must be an evangelical." While I am religious, evangelicals would scream if people tried to group me with them.

Now, some people do support Israel because of what's written in Revelation. I don't. There are so many valid reasons to support Israel that I honestly have to wonder about people who are opposed to their right of self-defense and self-determination.

As an example, I work with a gentleman who has a law degree, and is generally well-informed. He told me that the Zionist position on Israel is that it stretches to the Euphrates river. I'd never heard that before, so I went and dug around, and failed to find a source, told him that, and asked for his source. About a week later, he came back and (meekly) told me that he traced it to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. He willingly rejected the notion that Israel wants to stretch to the Euphrates, but he still views Israel as one of the worst nations on earth. Which leads me to ask, if his sources are using Protocols as a source, what else is untrustworthy about them?

Posted by: Geoff Matthews at August 6, 2003 at 06:34 AM

I wondered what the British Press Complaints Commission actually did, so I braved the useless Flash on the website to find out.

Here's the Code of Practice.

From this I deduce that

1) all newspapers are in violation, all the time, so
2) they're not going to enforce any of it.

For example, British newspapers are especially bad about violating section 1 iv), separating editorial content from straight reportage. In particular, Ingrams seems in clear violation of section 13 i)---certainly to claim that Jews cannot have valid opinions on the Middle East is literally prejudicial!

However, you'll note the little star next to nearly every entry. This is the journalist's King's X. It means that the article can be violated if doing so would be "in the public interest". Try not to choke on your beverages.

Posted by: Angie Schultz at August 6, 2003 at 07:41 AM

Well, we all know that, when a Jew writes a letter, they sign their names using the blood of a Christian or a Muslim. It's in the Protocols PEOPLE!!

Posted by: David Crawford at August 6, 2003 at 07:43 AM

In my Jewish family, last names include: Hunter, Robinson and Brown. My daughter went to Jewish Sunday school with kids named O'Connor and O'Keefe. And don't forget that classic Jewish name, Kerry.

Posted by: Joanne Jacobs at August 6, 2003 at 08:43 AM

How do you get on Ariel Sharon's payroll?
I happily and staunchly support Israel for free, but still, I wouldn't mind some easy shekels.

Posted by: Skinny Hippo at August 6, 2003 at 08:47 AM

Just use a pseudomym.

I like Eubin Yakinov, myself...

Posted by: mojo at August 6, 2003 at 09:12 AM

I am frequently mistaken for Jewish when I write letters. Perhaps it it the yamulke I wear (well, baseball caps), or perhaps my prayer shawl, or maybe my fine, semitic features (my wife says I would look perfect in a metal hat with horns), or maybe even my thick Yiddish accent (lots of us hillbillys have thick, Yiddish accents, damnit).

Wait a minute . . . when I write a letter they can't see or hear any of this. There's sumfin funny goin' on here.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at August 6, 2003 at 11:12 AM

Its an alarming trend of anti-semitism that is emerging. The worst part of it is that those guilty of it don't see it.

They think the "zionist cabal" is a healthy and sane idea.

So the worst part is they try to pretend that it doesn't exist and then when someone cries foul, they spout even more anti-semitism along the lines of "See ! Jews always attack people who disagree with them by calling them anti-semites!"

And now Richard Ingrams is trying to stifle any Jewish opinions simply because its Jewish.

Posted by: Jono at August 6, 2003 at 11:16 AM

Could be that the envelopes aren't sealed with pork fat; hang on, that would rule out adherents of Islam as well. He probably looks out for anything ending in "itz" and "stein", but that would apply to Polish and German Christians as well; maybe he's just a dickhead, or has some form of Kike-detecting ESP. Must be a big hit with the National Front. Funny how the lunar left and the lunar right have much in common- at least the Nazis are honest in saying they hate Jews- leftists disguise their anti-semitism behind a pro-Islam stance, even though Wahabi Islam is an anathema to virtually everything the left purports to believe in.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 6, 2003 at 12:11 PM

"Zionist" is newspeak for "evil Jew".

Posted by: Indole Ring at August 6, 2003 at 01:51 PM

Curiously, he doesn't say that he won't read pro-Arab letters signed by people with Arab-seeming names.

I wonder how he'd classify me. My surname isn't obviously Jewish, but then again, it isn't obviously not Jewish. As it happens, I'm Jewish--but I'd support Israel even if Vietnamese lived there.

Posted by: Alex Bensky at August 6, 2003 at 03:22 PM

How do you know which names are Jewish, and can therefore be ignored because of their inherently ingrained pro-Zionism? Easy - names like Noam Chomsky, Israel Shamir, Adam Shapiro, Susan Sarandon, etc.

Posted by: Grybstein at August 6, 2003 at 05:49 PM

Of course MOSSAD could fix this problem by sending him the last letter he'd ever open.

Posted by: Razor at August 6, 2003 at 06:00 PM