Guardian removes Raed Salah comment from website

April 24th, 2012 by CST

The Guardian has removed a comment posted in Raed Salah’s name in a comment thread on their Comment Is Free website at CST’s request, which included a false and damaging allegation against CST.

Raed Salah wrote an opinion piece for the Guardian last Thursday, in which he did not mention CST. However, in the comment thread under the article, a comment was posted in his name which suggested CST had provided the Home Secretary with a “doctored” version of a poem he had written, “to make it appear anti-Jewish”. This allegation is untrue. Several other comments, by other people, making similar allegations against CST were also removed from the comment thread at CST’s request.

This particular allegation relates to a version of a poem written by Salah which was quoted by the Home Office in the Deportation Order (pdf) which was served on Salah in June 2011. According to the recent Immigration Tribunal ruling on Salah’s appeal, which overturned his deportation, the Home Secretary was “misled” as to the terms of this poem. However, despite the impression that some of Salah’s supporters have given, the ruling does not blame CST for this: it states that “It is not clear where this originally came from…She must have been provided with a version from elsewhere but we do not know where.” (para. 47)

As we have said previously, CST did not provide the version of the poem which was used in the June 2011 Deportation Order, which came from an article in the Jerusalem Post dated 20 June 2009. In fact, it was CST that provided the full, accurate version of the poem in July 2011.

There is more evidence that CST provided the accurate version of the poem, not the inaccurate one, in the ruling itself. In paragraph 45, the ruling notes that CST’s version of the poem “also refers to the Arab tribes of ‘Aad and Thamud who were destroyed in an earthquake as punishment for their behaviour.” These Arab tribes were not mentioned in the Jerusalem Post‘s inaccurate rendering of the poem that the Deportation Order relied on – so that cannot have been the version provided by CST.

The accurate version of the poem that CST provided was accepted by Salah’s supporters to the extent that Middle East Monitor, his hosts in the UK, used it (with just two very minor alterations to the translation) on p.19 of their report on the Salah Affair (pdf).

The false notion that CST provided inaccurate or doctored information to the Home Office regarding Raed Salah appears to have been encouraged by articles such as this one, by David Hearst of the Guardian, which accuses CST of providing a “dodgy dossier” and suggests that CST did not “get its facts right”. On the contrary, it is those who peddle this false allegation against CST who have got their facts wrong.