Guardian criticised for claim that backing Zionism was among ‘worst errors’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Guardian criticised for claim that backing Zionism was among ‘worst errors’

Board of Deputies president brands the statement 'breathtakingly ill-considered' in sharp criticism of the publication's coverage to mark its 200-year history.

The article, which surveyed previous editorials, was published on Friday (Image: The Guardian / Screenshot)
The article, which surveyed previous editorials, was published on Friday (Image: The Guardian / Screenshot)

The Guardian newspaper has been criticised for listing its 1917 support for Zionism as among its worst errors of judgements in its 200-year history.

The left-leaning daily marked its 200th birthday last week, and among the articles marking the occasion was an article called ‘What we got wrong: the Guardian’s worst errors of judgment over 200 years’.

The piece, by chief leader writer Randeep Ramesh, surveyed the paper’s historic editorials deemed to be mistakes, including among them an editorial from editor CP Scott in favour of Zionism in 1917.

“The Guardian of 1917 supported, celebrated and could even be said to have helped facilitate the Balfour declaration,” stated the piece. 

“Scott was a supporter of Zionism and this blinded him to Palestinian rights. In 1917 he wrote a leader on the day the Balfour declaration was announced, in which he dismissed any other claim to the Holy Land, saying: “The existing Arab population of Palestine is small and at a low stage of civilisation.” 

“Whatever else can be said, Israel today is not the country the Guardian foresaw or would have wanted.”

Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies, said it was a “breathtakingly ill-considered” statement.

“In its eagerness to disassociate itself in any way from its early support for Zionism, the Guardian chooses not to focus on the simple fact that had such a national homeland existed even a decade earlier than 1948, many millions of Jews – our close relatives – murdered in the Holocaust might still be alive,” she said. 

“Alongside a safe and secure Jewish State, the Board of Deputies supports the creation of a Palestinian State, something the Balfour declaration does not negate. 

“The Guardian would be best advised to advocate for this as well rather than its current position, which seems to be to do everything it can to undermine the legitimacy of the world’s only Jewish state.”

Jewish News has contacted The Guardian for further comment, but did not receive a response. 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: