Lord Ahmed: Michael White is not an anti-Semite says Daniel Finkelstein and his sensible Jewish friends
ABOUT peer Lord Ahmed is accused of being an anti-Semite. He denies the charge. You can read the background to the story here. It boils down to Ahmed allegedly claiming on Pakistani TV that the Jews were behind his conviction for dangerous driving. Lord Ahmed went to prison for his crime. The man whose car he hit died.
Daniel Finkelstein is the Executive Editor and a leader writer of the Times, the paper that broke the story. He tweeted:
“Surprised to find our Lord Ahmed Jews story not in BBC radio news summaries…”
Michael White, Assistant Editor at the Guardian, replied:
MichaelWhite @MichaelWhite @Dannythefink Now, now Dan. You must know Ahmed/Urdu/Jewish story is legally tricky for all media until checked, BBC lawyers not at work yet
That tweet was missing from the screengrab of the exchange published on CifWatch (see above). White then tweeted:
“@Dannythefink I agree it’s a stinker and typical of double standards. Pity about the illegal settlements though. Best wishes”
Do you see what White did, there? He linked Jews – all of them – to the Israeli Government’s actions in the disputed West Bank. He did not link Pakistani-born Mulsim Ahmed’s alleged action with the actions of any number of Muslim States. He did not say, “Pity about the Church bombings, though. Best wishes”; “Pity about the car bombings, though. Best wishes”; “Pity about the Kano bus bombings, though. Best wishes.” That would have been crass, stupid, patronising and wrong.
The Jerusalem Post reported:
On Friday, the Guardian told The Jerusalem Post that White’s remarks had been misrepresented and that no offense had been intended.
“[Michael White] sought only, in exchanges with Daniel Finkelstein, to explain why the Times story about Lord Ahmed’s remarks had not been instantly picked up. No offense was intended,” a spokesman for the Guardian News and Media told the Post
Just a final word on my exchange with
@MichaelWhite, I think it is important to stress that he is not remotely an anti-Semite in my view.
@Dannythefink Thanks for courtesy, Danny, I regret that you should have to say so. It’s a nasty world sometimes
It seems that the pair do not get along so well.
White also wrote on Cif Watch:
Most of my sensible friends, including Jewish ones, warn me to steer clear of rows like this. My own view, naive perhaps, that most readers are not the abusive types who make angry comments below the line on this and other topics, but people open to reasonable argument and explanation.
It’s not him. White didn’t offer a knee-jerk comment laced with attitude. It’s you that misunderstood him. As White also tweeted:
@GuidoFawkes Ah, but the problem here is ” why did saintly DF go after the BBC over Ahmed (surely legal?) delay. What was his sub-text?”
You need look closely about why certain journalists choose the words they do.