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December 16, 2014 8:43 am

Guardian Op-Ed on CIA Torture Uses Picture of Jewish Menorah

avatar by Adam Levick

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The Guardian newspaper's London offices. Photo: Derek Harper.

The Observer (sister site of the Guardian) published an official editorial on Sunday (The Observer view on torture, Dec. 14) in response to a report issued by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee into the CIA’s interrogation of terror suspects in the years after the 9/11 attacks.

Whilst there’s nothing especially noteworthy in the editorial itself, which condemned “America’s most senior leaders, from former president George W Bush down,” for directing and condoning “the use of abhorrent illegal techniques against terrorism suspects that plainly amounted to torture” – the photo that editors chose to accompany the piece is quite curious.

Guardian editors chose the photo of Bush in front of a menorah (from a 2008 White House Hanukkah ceremony) despite the absence of any references to Jews in the text, and the fact that the media group no doubt has countless other photos of the former president – which don’t include eye-catching symbols evoking one particular religion that isn’t the focus of the editorial – which they could have used instead.

No, we’re not accusing the Guardian of antisemitism, just extremely poor editorial judgment.

Adam Levick is the managing editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

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  • Why should man care about news media to day?Mr. Bush his more interesting to look at than the menorah. The more man reacts to this kind of trap the more the news papers will came up with this kind of trap. Those articles are made for man to react by pictures which is a catch. A gay game。

  • Abe Bird

    This is another small but significant evidence of anti-Semitism that bubbling and simmering from the Guardian’s pages that hiding time and again visual Jewish motifs on controversial issues although Israel and Jews have nothing to do with. This action hints and projecting to the readers’ subconscious that there is sneaky hidden connection whatsoever between the problem and the Jews / Israel. It is well-known that that kind of propaganda method developed by the Stalin’s Communists and Goebbels & Hitler National Socialist and passed to Liberal-lefties and Muslims in Palestine (Haj Amin el-Husseini, Yasser Arafat and Abu Abbas).

  • E Pluribus Wombat

    In the next 6 months, the Guardian will openly call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the west.

  • Well, there is some reason there… After all, the Senate report cites the CIA numerous times referring to the law and policies of the State of Israel as its inspiration…

    Joseph Zernik, PhD
    Human Rights Alert (NGO)
    * The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations was incorporated into the 2010 Periodic Review Report regarding Human Rights in the United States, with the note: “corruption of the courts and the legal profession and discrimination by law enforcement in California”.
    * The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations was incorporated into the 2013 Periodic Review Report regarding Human Rights in Israel, with the note: “lack of integrity of the electronic records of the Supreme Court, the district courts and the detainees courts in Israel.”
    * The Human Rights Alert (NGO) submission to the Human Rights Council for the 2015 Periodic Review of Human Rights in the US is titled: “Large-scale fraud in IT systems of the US federal courts: Unannounced regime change?” to be reviewed Jan 2015.

    • shloime


    • Abe Bird

      But what has Israel to do with US policy on that matter? It’s like you blame Einstein for your failure in physics after learning his books…..

    • Alexi

      Yet another circumstance where Phd stands for… PILED HIGH & DEEP.

      But thanks for chiming in.

  • A Simple Jew

    Perhaps the author won’t accuse the Guardian of anti-Semitism for the use of the menorah as a visual backdrop to the torture story, but I will be happy to make the accusation for him.

    Anyone familiar with the bias and Jew hatred which infests the Guardian will have no doubt that this was a deliberate libel against the Jewish people. Just par for the course…

  • Dorothy Seidel Wigod

    Unfortunately, this is just the kind of damage that is almost impossible to a way like the Canal 2 picture of the Arab boy who was supposed to have been killed by Israeli gunfire.

  • Dorothy Seidel Wigod

    Unfortunately, this is just the kind of damage that is almost impossible to a way like the Canal 2 picture of the Arab boy that was supposed to have been killed by Israeli gunfire.

    • Steve Loeb

      Muhammed al Dura


  • art

    ah yes proof of the Jewish conspiracy ruling the world Remember after the Madrid Conference under Bush 1 we were told anti semitism and and boycotts were a thing of the past. The same promises were made after Oslo, the abandonment of southern Lebanon and the surrender of gaza. Just as we are told if Israel adopts the Saudi Plan and withdraws to pre 67 borders and allow the right of return relations will normalized

  • ed halperin

    Most people would question the neutrality of the editorial board. There are a million pictures of Bush
    available to them, and to pick one in which a menorah is visually of equal value is despicable. How would they respond to the queen being next to a crescent or the pope being next to swastika.
    They are not idiots but frankly being anti-Semitic or rather provoking other people to associate, torture with Jews (influence and/or money) Worthy of Czarist Russia.

  • I will make it easy for you. Antisemitism is foundational to The Guardian. Everyone who works for The Guardian wishes they could have worked Der Sturmer.

  • Elliott

    Oh,come on, that was no mistake!! The left wing anti-American useful idiots will always end up blaming it on the Jews – after all, they have Arab financiers to suck up to, putty-headed pseudo-intellectuals that they are.

  • Linda Rivera

    Did the Guardian Jew-hater whores get paid mega money by Saudi Arabia or Qatar for that pic or do they volunteer their services for free?

  • dante

    of course, the photograph was chosen precisely because the photo editor and/or others at the guardian intended an attack upon Israel and the Jews, but an attack, which if called on it, allowed them to gleefully and mendaciously assert that they intended no such thing. “us?” “an attack?” “the looming candelabra? is that supposed to be Jewish or something?” “we hadn’t noticed.” THERE IS NOT A PUBLICATION OF ANY PROMINENCE THAT DOES NOT CAREFULLY CONSIDER THE PHOTOS THAT IT CHOOSES FOR PROMINENT STORIES. they are haters and they are liars. they pretend to be decent but it is just a pose.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Mr Levick has raised a very important propaganda point that should be taken on board. But it applies to his group too. Most of his CAMERA-based attacks on antisemitism are all too easily seen against a montage of pro-Settlement, pro-Occupation and pro-Blockade views. I have repeatedly sought to remove that montage by asking Mr Levick to state his own personal bias or opinion in relation to these matters, on the basis that it is far better such bias be stated than implied. I would extend that to also asking for a clear statement of CAMERA policy in these issues. I think fair judgment demands both

    CAMERA itself – according to the website “SourceWatch” – has been described as “as a pro-Israeli lobby group that as put by Journalist and author Robert I. Friedman – “CAMERA, the A.D.L., AIPAC and the rest of the lobby don’t want fairness, but bias in their favor. And they are prepared to use McCarthyite tactics, as well as the power and money of pro-Israel PACs, to get whatever Israel wants.”

    That particular comment is displayed on the following SourceWatch page

    with the following attribution

    “Robert I. Friedman, “The lobby: Jewish political power and American foreign policy”, The Nation, June 6, 1987, page 244.”

    The style of Mr Levick’s articles is frequently to my mind one of encouraging paranoia and prejudice against his chosen target – currently generally the Guardian Newspaper – a highly respected and responsible liberal-based independent newspaper. McCarthyism has been similarly described – and one day it all fell apart and the Press walked out…

    I find his attacks tiresome and counter productive. In attacking the Guardian in the manner he does, he is readily seen as being engaged at a more important level in pursuing an extreme Zionist and Greater Israel agenda and to be sacrificing intelligent discussion and dialogue in the process. Please is that the intention? What is the position underlying all this?

    It is this perception of Israel and the Jewish community itself – which I personally consider grossly inaccurate – that is fueling so much of present anti semitism, anti Israel and I might suggest BDS opinion. Just as I think it was right for the Guardian to remove any hint of “suggestion” implied by using a particular photograph, so I think that it is long past time that monitoring of a sometimes pernicious media was removed from the contaminating context, even by “association”, of a particular internal Right Wing Zionist agenda.

    A standard to have any meaning – and I am sure Mr Levick would agree on this – must be equally and universally applied. Cards on the table is all I ask, that and a little less use of astroturfing generally.

    • dante

      julian, probably a nice bloke, writes: “Most of his CAMERA-based attacks on antisemitism are all too easily seen against a montage of pro-Settlement, pro-Occupation and pro-Blockade views.” one supposes that this means something to julian but, if it means anything to anyone else, it is only because one gets the general idea that julian doesn’t believe Israel has a right to defend itself or a right to its ancient patrimony, a right recognized by the league of nations and, hence, by the u.n. (sorry, pal, the u.n. expressly adopted certain decisions of the league of nations. no one cares to remember? it’s nevertheless the case.)

      in julian’s mind, one infers, occupation, settlement and blockade are all terrible things. when one lives in an environment where everyone believes that, one doesn’t have to worry about proof and one never challenges one’s assumptions. to raise but a single question for julian and his ideological comrades: how did the “horrible occupation” start? (answer: in 1967, jordan ignored Israel’s petitions, conveyed through the u.n., that it not attack Israel. Israel responded to jordanian attacks and took the “west bank,” territory from which the Jews were driven in 1948. and, why should Israel have withdrawn from that territory, part of the mandate reserved for the Jewish Homeland? does any serious person believe that, aside from its legal and historic claims to the land, Israel should have abandoned any territory to parties that were committed to its destruction? would anyone but a fool do that?)

      apart from weakness in julian’s argument described in the first paragraph above, his comment consists of a string of ad hominem attacks or other fallacious contentions. why not concern oneself with the issues instead of a party’s purported motivations or associations? argue the issues. if one has any evidence with which to rebut some assertion, present the evidence. and, let’s not worry about things that are, at least purportedly, “too easily seen against” some “montages.”

      • shloime

        why the long-winded rebuttal to the obvious troll? just call him a troll, and move on.

      • Julian Clovelley

        I don’t believe Israel has an “ancient patrimony”, “dante” because I can’t find a historical point on which one can fix such a claim – all I can find is some frequently ridiculous mythology which comes in conflict with equally ridiculous mythology from opposing parties

        It seems to me that the one real starting point that we of the modern world are offered is the Partition Resolution of the United Nations – Undermine the United Nations – as so many Zionists seek to do – and you have nothing – nothing even on which many people can base their sympathy. You are taking away the intellectual ability to defend the people now living in Israel

        The UN Partition addressed a real situation. It was endorsed by a majority of member nations. Had all sides worked within its framework, a peaceful environment would exist today, and indeed would have existed for the past 65 years. No side has been blameless for what eventuated in the years since

        One of the problems people such as myself have, who are very sympathetic to the plight of the people of the region, is that extremists in the Zionist camp, many not even in Israel, rely on and extend a pseudo history that has absolutely no real foundation in fact, into being the justification for imperialist bad behaviour. This bad behaviour extends into the manner in which all Arabs and Palestinians are regarded and treated, and into actions in which one can only see a path being laid for Israel to become an apartheid state

        The path Zionism seems to be taking is one so divergent from the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the Palestian Mandate and the UN Partition, that it seems to threaten the very validity of the 1947 Partition Resolution itself. I cannot see this action – intensified by Zionist attacks on the UN itself – to be in the interests of Israel’s Jewish people, most of whom, no doubt, seek a right to a quiet, peaceful and secure life.

        All of the attacks on the Guardian Newspaper conceal one thing, and that is that the writer’s agenda for the Occupation, the Blockade, and the Settlements remains unstated. To me it comes across as the primary motive in the attacks, and I merely ask them to have the honesty to reveal what it is

        Mr Levick’s attacks are about what he conceives as being the Guardian’s policy. I think he is quite wrong in that Guardian writer’s frequently do not reflect Guardian opinion and this is editorially stated. In my case I am not claiming what the writer’s bias is – I am only asking it be stated openly

        The organisation that he is a part of is one I find widely criticised on the internet. I’m asking Levick to give his side of the story. What is his – and his organisation’s agenda and timetable in relation to the Occupation, the Settlements and the Blockade? – what conditions and timetable for their ending and closure, or handing over of Settlements to Palestinian administration are in his thinking?

        And if the answer is never – how isn’t this a contempt for the UN Partition Resolution and the background of International Law and Geneva Conventions? A minority of Palestinians were of mature age when this Occupation and Settlement started – how is that meant to be fair? Just asking – but as usual getting no answers, and left waiting for the next slagging off of a widely respected and vital news and opinion source, whose independent writers have picked up something that the majority of the Jewish communities(sic) and their leaders would have agreed with at its foundation – that Zionism is hopelessly wrong headed

    • Alexi


      The VERY FIRST line of that sourcewatch baloney is a LIE.

      It states “The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is a powerful Boston-based lobby group that tries to curb criticism of Israel in U.S. media.”

      Tries to curb criticism? Nope.
      Despite your (sourcewatches) editorializing…

      “The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.”

      In other words, it’s your BS that keeps them at work.

    • Wolff Bachner

      Troll crap. The use of the image of Bush with the menorah was 100 percent deliberate. The Guardian can make all the denials they like. We know the truth based on decades of unrelenting Jew hate.

  • richard beck

    If you won’t call that antisemitism I will .

  • Kris Hinson

    Shame on you, Guardian, you can do better than that!

  • Leo Toystory

    When the children of the few heterosexuals who still work at the Guardian are either forced to convert to Islam or to live as a subjugated people in their own land MAYBE it will dawn on just one of those Brit numbskulls that whilst the Jews lived in their midst they harmed no one, contributed a great deal, and did nothing to the detriment of England or it’s people.

  • spktruth200

    the lies of the Zionists their treachery is now known worldwide. No anti Semitism….just recognizing the Zionists brutes for what they are. The Guardian is not anti semitic they just tell the truth. The truth is disturbing to the worldwide Zionists who want control of the whole world. Tony Blair and George Bush/Cheney and that KLAN of Krazies, Wolfowitz Perle et al….will be in the Hague to face the world…just like the Nazis were.

    • dante

      an example of a remarkable feat: the comment hit the keyboard without for a moment passing through a human brain. any facts? any argument? no, just a frustrated, unhappy, little man’s squalid hatred. one doesn’t need a brain for that.

    • Wolff Bachner

      You have proven that there is another scientific paradox to be resolved. How can an alleged Homo Sapien produce written words that appear on the internet without a functioning brain.

  • Louis Fried

    The Observer knew exactly what it was doing. The subliminal message is that the Zionists and neo- cons are responsible for the use of torture on terror suspects.

    • shloime

      not a new idea, actually. ronnie raygun, when he had to answer for iran-contra-gate, excused himself by saying the israelis had suggested it. somehow, it never even occurred to the alleged president of the united states, that he was responsible for his own decisions!

  • Poor judgment hardly. This photo clearly implies that Jews are the “shadow” force behind Bush’s torture regime.

  • Julian Clovelley

    Interesting to note that when you follow Adam’s link to the web version of the article it carries an entirely different picture, but comments in the Guardian suggest that it has been changed from the original Observer picture. However it is not unusual for the Observer to be in disagreement with the Guardian – they are largely independently run. I was never an avid reader of the Observer myself and find it quite an achievement worldwide that Sunday Newspapers are almost always incredibly boring. I guess that is why they go broke so frequently

    I do think that changing the picture in response to negative comment was the correct thing to do. I can well understand any sensitivity on the part of Jewish people with regard to being associated with the awful Bush Administration of with the Republican Party. I would be very happy to see this negative attitude extended to questioning the attacks on the present American Administration and the personal attacks on the United States President so common amongst some journalists and commentators published in Algemeiner. It seems to me that verbally they use a similar technique that could be seen as “montage”

    Such commentators seem to have gone out of their way to again use “montage” as well as direct comment to give the impression that all Jews should be seen as ardent supporters of the Republican Party, which, once again is what the picture might suggest. This kind of journalistic literary montage is infinitely more damaging in its association of Jewish people and the State of Israel in toto with Republican Administration policies – policies that included the use of renditions and torture and the carrying out of interrogations and incarcerations in countries that lacked America’s own legal and Constitutional safeguards

    Why anyone with a love for the Jewish people would want to associate Jewish people with these events and policies is quite beyond me. It certainly appears to me that much current anti-Jewish sentiment stems from these associations made from within the Jewish community itself. I’d ask some of those commentators why THEY are deliberately placing so much of the identification of Jewish people within a Right Wing and even neo Fascist context – to me such association is a slander upon a people who have suffered so much.

    The saddest accusation when rightly made to people who have been injured – physically or emotionally – or who have become alienated or isolated is “they did it to themselves”. Please don’t

    • shloime

      not really sure you have anything to say – i got lost about 5 minutes into your comment.

      but to say that jews support the republicans is JUST PLAIN WRONG. about 80% of Jews voted for barack hussein obama, who was a democrat, the last time i looked. and for the life of me i can’t understand why, after he has embraced the moslem brotherhood, and equipped jihadists from benghazi to allepo.

  • isaac

    I have no doubts that the Editors of Guardian or some of them are anti-Semitic, but because to show it openly may damage the “prestige” of the newspaper, they camouflaged their message by means of the photo; the majority of the readers don’t read the whole article, many don’t pay attention to the title, but all of them see the picture…, the Guardian editors know this very well. If the Guardian people see this message, I tell them that we Jews are not afraid of this animal hatred, we have seen it too long.

  • The real problem is that a picture is worth a thousand words and pictures stick easier in people’s minds…and subliminal messaging seems to work better on the ignorant, which bigots and anti-semites certainly are a part of

    • Herb Grossman

      A picture IS worth a thousand words and one does not have to verbally accuse the Guardian of antisemitism.

  • Not accusing the Guardian of anti-semitism for using that picture and just calling it “poor editorial judgement”, is like publishing an editorial on child molestation, while using a picture of the pope, and calling that poor editorial judgement.

    • judorebbe

      It isn’t poor editorial judgment at all. It is a well-thought-out appeal to the vast majority of their readers. The Brits have a long and proud tradition of anti-Semitism.

      Note: The first known “blood libel” (ritual murder charge) was the case of (St.) William of Norwich, in 1144.

      It seems that the British attitude toward Jews hasn’t changed much in the past 870 years.

      • Tony Oliver

        The circulation of the the Guardian is about 185,000. Britain has a population of 64.1 million! When you make statements like “The Brits have a long and proud tradition of anti-Semitism.” you are speaking like an anti-semite, though the objects of your hate are the British rather than the Jews. There is no “British attitude” to the Jews. There are of course anti-semitic Brits, just as there are people like you who love to sterotype a whole nation. After all, how many of the 64.1 million Brits do you know?

        • Wolff Bachner

          We can read a history book, buddy. You can deny history, but your country issued less than 4000 visas for European Jews to enter what the British arrogantly called Palestine instead of Israel during all of World War II.

          That’s less than 4000 visas for six million desperate Jews who died in gas chambers and in pits with a bullet to the brain.

          Britain decided oil was more important than six million innocent Jewish lives, and obviously, you still do. Soon, your women will be wearing burqas. Your children are already being groomed by Muslim gangs as sex slaves and your police won’t do a thing about it. Pathetic.

          It is no coincidence that only 24 British citizens are listed as members of Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations. Poland has 6454 Righteous. Out of the more than 25,000 non-Jews who are recognized for saving Jews during the Shoah, only 24 are British. Your country did nothing to save my people. You wouldn’t even bomb the train tracks leading to the death camps.

          Britain did manage to give 70 percent of the land promised to Israel under international law to a Saudi prince to create a new Arab/ Muslim state called Jordan, and created eight other Arab states that never existed before that made a total shambles of the Middle East. Well, you did have a tiny bit of help from France too, but they were quite open about sending Jews to the death camps during the war.

          Am Yisrael Chai.

        • Julian Clovelley

          Absolutely agree with what you say Tony. Brought up in England, I sat next to Jewish children in primary school, played with them in the playground as best friends, lived next door to a Jewish family, went to secondary school with many Jewish children in my class. I worked for Jewish bosses in shops and markets, with Jewish fellow workers

          In all that time in England I encountered antisemitism twice and only once actually witnessed it. England isn’t perfect but antisemitic it is not, and long hasn’t been. Artistically it even agonises over Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” and Dicken’s “Oliver Twist”

          I have seen hundreds more cases of prejudice against Black people, Indians and Pakistanis in England than heard or seen anti Jewish prejudice. Even with these failings, Britons happily go for a curry in an Indian or Pakistani restaurant.

          I have found vastly more separatism expressed by Jews in England than expressed against them, but I have never seen anyone bothered by it. Who cares?

          I migrated to Australia long ago – I hope it hasn’t changed back home in Blighty. Australia is much the same. There is always a degree of predjudice against migrants and minorities – as a “pom”, as they call “English” people, I sometimes cop it myself. But who cares? – just as in England the person ragging you is often sharing a beer with you.

          I never heard any anti Israeli sentiment until the rise of Zionist extremism and Convervatism in Israel’s Governments. It largely occurs because many people see those worldviews as divisive bosh from beginning to end.

          As countries that came out of obsessive Christianity in the decades after the war, we share with Judaism the Jewish Bible. It is not a rejection of Judaism that walking away from that whole mythological world is about, nor is it antisemitism, it is simply people coming to their senses and walking away from their own birth religion and the mythology it shares. For many of us a difference between Jews and Gentiles never existed, except perhaps that Jews and Catholics got out of singing hymns at the daily school assembly, and the rest of us thought they were rather lucky in that

          The Guardian exist in a non antisemitic atmosphere – as such its writers can criticise Zionism and Israel and the Jewish community without inflaming non existent passions. It is hardly the Guardian’s editors fault that so much of the rest of the world is stupid