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Friday, 11 February 2011

Guardian writer Greenslade's 'stupid' Jewish EDL stereotype

By Jennifer Lipman, February 10, 2011, from Jewish Chronicle

The veteran media commentator Roy Greenslade has rushed to explain his “stupid” remarks about Jews and Muslims in a blogpost on the English Defence League (EDL).

Mr Greenslade said he did not know what was in his head when he wrote in his Guardian blog of media baron Richard Desmond: “As a Jew, he may well have negative views of Muslims”.
The Guardian later removed the sentence on the grounds of “inappropriate language,” but it remained visible in the reader comments.

The observation was part of a piece criticising the Daily Star owner for the newspaper’s front page story on the extreme right EDL’s political aspirations.

Mr Greenslade called the article, which appeared under the headline “English Defence League to become political party”, a “clear piece of propaganda”.

Describing the underlying agenda of the EDL as being “antisemitic”, he said the coverage by Mr Desmond’s newspaper was “manna from heaven for the EDL”.

He added: “[He] ought to think very carefully about letting the Star use far right politics to build sales.

“He should remember what happened in those societies across Europe in the 1930s where Jewish minorities were demonised in the media for their religious beliefs.”

Reader Joel Braunold wrote in the comments that Mr Greenslade’s remark was shocking and added to “the fuels of the communal wars in this country."

He said: “I'm glad that the author thinks that the Jewish community has a natural hate of the Islamic community and [wants] to propagate this false stereotype.”

A contrite Mr Greenslade told the JC he was pleased the line had been taken down. He said: “How stupid. I didn’t meant that and I don’t know what I was thinking.

“It’s contradictory, isn’t it. There I was going on about stereotypes and I immediately stepped into a stereotype."

Mr Greenslade described the generalisation as was “so far from what I believe” and said he tried to be extremely fair when it came to coverage of sensitive issues of religion.

He added: “I sometimes wonder at myself.”

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