Lies of omission and commission: Chris McGreal’s propaganda from Gaza


Chris McGreal doesn’t like Israel.

That’s his right.

However, as a journalist he and his editors have a duty to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair.

Chris McGreal’s report, Palestinians count dead after one of the worst days of the war, Nov. 21, was filed from Gaza – a piece largely consisting of accounts of Palestinian deaths and injuries during ‘Pillar Of Defense’.  However, he also attempts to support a broader narrative of Israeli cruelty in the context of civilian casualties and alleged non-military targets.

McGreal writes the following,

“The Palestinian health ministry puts the total death toll at more than 150, although officials concede they may not know about all of those killed. The PCHR says at least 90 of those are civilians, including about 30 children.”

Not surprisingly, McGreal used stats from PCHR [Palestinian Centre for Human Rights], one of the most radical anti-Israel NGOs with no legitimate claim whatsoever to being a genuine human rights organization.  PCHR, founded in Gaza City in 1995, has defended Palestinian terrorism as justified “resistance” and, in 2000, compared Hezbollah’s “legitimate…resistance against Israeli occupation in Lebanon” to “French resistance during the Nazi occupation.”

Further, PCHR reported casualty figures on the Gaza war in 2008-09 which were so biased that it included a much higher number of civilians killed during the war than even what Hamas claimed.  

Not surprisingly the statistics by PCHR cited by McGreal have been contradicted by even the NGO B’Tselem – the biased, agenda-driven NGO whose own inflated casualty figures on Cast Lead were severely criticized  for containing “major errors of commission and omission”.

Not only is B’Tselem’s casualty count for ‘Pillar Of Defense’ significantly lower than those cited by McGreal, but the ratio of civilian to combatant deaths they report is much lower – better than a 1:1 ratio.

The second passage in McGreal’s report worth examining reads as follows:

“Then there were the targets. The Israeli army said: “The sites that were targeted were positively identified by precise intelligence over the course of several months.” But many seemed to have little military value. A football stadium blown to bits…”

As we can presume McGreal had use of an internet search engine while he was writing this, it’s interesting that he didn’t mention widely published reports all over the media (including even the BBC) that this location was targeted because Hamas used it as a missile launching site (for the Iranian made Fajr-5 rocket) on Friday Nov. 16.

IDF graphic

Even the Guardian’s ‘live blog’ on the war included, in an update that day, the following Tweet by the BBC’s Paul Danahar.

McGreal is clearly not interested in clear evidence showing that Hamas continues to use civilian centers to launch attacks against Israel – using their citizens as human shields - despite the fact that even Hamas TV has shown footage of such attacks from civilian areas.

Moreover, in both the casualty statistics and the IDF attack on the Gaza ‘stadium’, McGreal demonstrates classic Guardian “journalism” – the search for data and “reports” (no matter how lacking in credibility) to support a preconceived conclusion of Israeli villainy. Clearly, Chris McGreal was determined to advance a narrative suggesting that Israel recklessly attacked Palestinian civilian targets, regardless of evidence demonstrating precautions taken by the IDF to minimize civilian casualties in this and other wars. 

McGreal is allowed, of course, to provide false statistics and to avoid providing his readers with even a semblance of balance.  

However, such ideologically driven propaganda should not be published at a broadsheet which (however comically) fancies itself a serious newspaper. 

96 comments on “Lies of omission and commission: Chris McGreal’s propaganda from Gaza

  1. And what about the southern Gaza border fence breaking?

    a clear violation by the Palestinians!

    And obvious photos showing the Palestinians “peaceful protestors” only approaching for a chat…

    • The very basis of this blog unnerves me. You essentially seek to muzzle commentators. You’re just a proxy for far right nonsense. What is really any different from your online barracking of your perceived enemies and the Nazis? Proportion. Intention is the same: quashing of your perceived enemy.

      • “What is really any different from your online barracking of your perceived enemies and the Nazis?”

        ‘toaf” if you need to ask such an inane question then obviously you are as ignorant about who and what the Nazis were as you are about the purpose of this website.

        Ignorance can be cured, but stupid is forever.

        Sadly the content of your post is incontrovertible proof that you are in the second category.

        • It “got your goat”, though, didn’t it. Stupid is not to place the proposition – stupid is to make it so literal. Using “incontrovertible” doesn’t imbue your own inanities with any intellect.

          • “It “got your goat”, though, didn’t it.”

            Sorry to disappoint you ‘toaf’ but no. Posts like your’s are a minor nuisance much the same as accidentaly stepping in dogshit, I simply scrape it off my shoe and carry on my way.

          • Funny. In certain localities here in the uk, the way tho say ‘the oaf’ is t’ oaf. Must be coincidence. Regarding your point, you complain that criticism of mistakes pointed out is aggressive nazi-like behavior in ‘trying to silence your perceived enemies’. The only one indulging in such hysterical denunciation is you, ironically with this very accusation.

      • “The very basis of this blog unnerves me. You essentially seek to muzzle commentators. You’re just a proxy for far right nonsense.”

        How old are you? I don’t think you know what you’re talking about. You make charges against this website as to its motives and ends, but you don’t substantiate these charges. Who is CiFWatch muzzling, and how?

      • I’m genuinely at a loss as to what to say to this. You seem to be suggesting that all criticism of anything people say or publish is a lesser form of totalitarian persecution. Is that what you actually believe?

      • If you want to see commentators being muzzled I suggest that go to Al-Guardians “comment is free” blog and post something supportive of Israel and its legitimate right to exist….And watch it disappear

    • Please check your facts before posting…
      From the text of the agreement:

      “Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.”

      God! It’s like pulling teeth!

    • Oh my GOD! A STONE!! Whatever shall we do? We’re surrounded on all sides! Israel must defend itself from these geological weapons of mass destruction!

    • The “Don’t”… But they under stood the “get back or I shoot you” very quickly.
      That will indicate to us that these type of “peaceful protesters” understand the language of violence more than a simple set of instructions or compromise.

      Hams and the Muslim brotherhood don’t stop, don’t reason. And there is no negotiations with terrorists.

      • Using your logic, every protester on the streets of London should be shot if they don’t listen to the police.

        Israel’s moral army, my arse!

        • “Using your logic, every protester on the streets of London should be shot if they don’t listen to the police.”

          No, Alex. That’s using your “logic.”

        • “Israel’s moral army, my arse!”

          That’s right, Alex. Israel most likely has the most moral army in world. You cannot, objectively, find one more moral. Of course, you have trouble finding morality altogether, but do have a go. Perhaps start with some of the brave, honor-bound fighters of Hamas, you know, the ones that fire into civilian populations in Israeli territory with no military objective, and then go hide in shelters leaving the women, the children, and the elderly to protect their rocket launchers for Allah.

  2. To all intents and purposes, Chris McGreal is a liar. No decent newspaper would employ him, but then again the Guardian is not a decent newspaper. The Guardian and McGreal deserve each other.

    • Naaah, they wanted to send an SMS that the week end’s fixtures are now cancelled in an analogue way.

        • Yes pretzelberg.
          Also deeply troubling was the sick chants of some in the crowd at the West Ham-Spurs game, also directed at Spurs fans and anti semitic.

          • The bizarre thing is: practically every North London Jewish footie fan I’ve ever met is an Arsenal supporter!

          • Ah Pretz. I wish all North London football fans (of whatever religion) were Gooners like me! I do know many many Jewish Gooners, but sadly I married into a family of the other lot.

          • @ Labenal

            A heroic result for us Villans at the weekend, mind. ;-)

            Always had a soft spot for Spurs, not so for your lot I’m afraid.
            Summat do do with the 80s.

  3. Why do these entities always repeat that allah akbar chant at every opportunity? Is it like a magic incantation that gives them super-powers? Also, from the short clip at the fence, these muslims aren’t fearful of the israelis; that suggests that they know the IDF will abide by civilised rules. What would happen, I wonder if it was a crowd of Jews provoking muslims in a similar situation; would the muslims with firearms behave with such restraint? I think I know the answer.

  4. Just watching Question Time. Just seen a complete reversal of sentiment towards Israel. Israel right or wrong propaganda no longer works. There is a complete sea change of public opinion. Israel has lost the public debate.

      • It’s almost impossible to conceive of such breathless, deluded, biased commentary. Because Islam is that evil. What a deeply warped individual.

        • toaf, let me spell this out to you. All the sunni’s, millions of ‘em hate the shia. All the shia hate the sunni’s, so every type of Islam has millions of people hating it. If we use your moral standard of ‘popularity’ Islam is well and truly in the minus regions.

          • “Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics
            And the Catholics hate the Protestants
            And the Hindus hate the Moslems
            And everybody hates the Jews”

            I don’t know. I’ve known a number of Sunnis whose feelings about Shi’a ranged from indifference to total lack of interest. Perhaps they’re just abnormal, but I don’t think ‘hate’ is exactly universal.

          • I have to disagree buddy.
            The social problems and internal political strife within the Palestinian society are arriving as a result of many reasons.
            UNRWA and the loss of the status quo’s “charity” gravy train is but one.

          • All right everyone ‘All’ was an exaggeration, but it is very common, and in places like Pakistan and Iraq it is killing people..

        • “It’s almost impossible to conceive of such breathless, deluded, biased commentary. Because Islam is that evil. What a deeply warped individual.”

          If that’s true, you should have no trouble refuting him point by point. We’re waiting.

          • You walk the walk alex, and most certainly talk the talk.
            and yes, the lower case “a” at the front of your name is a sign of disrespect.

      • Pat Condell clearly hates Muslims. Unbelievable that CiFW has actually promoted his tiny-bollocked rants.

        • Pretzel, it is a poster, not Cifwatch. But it is true, that people who just hate blindly are dangerous for us all.

          • I can imagine Condell turning on Jews in an instant, to be honest. It’s just that he hates Muslims more.

        • “Pat Condell clearly hates Muslims. Unbelievable that CiFW has actually promoted his tiny-bollocked rants.”

          I have to disagree with you about this, pretzelberg. Pat Condell hates Islam, not people who just happen to be Muslims, and is no fan of religion generally. Furthermore, CifWatch isn’t promoting him any more than it’s promoting toaf, Sanity, or Alex. How did you ever come up with that formulation?

    • QT is heavily doctored by the BBC, but to be fair if popularity was anything to go by morally Hitler would be known as the greatest German of the last century.

    • You mean this?

      Hopelessly biased, that kid Owen. Unbelievable that he actually promotes the “federal state” solution. And not a single word of criticism against Hamas, of course.

      • “Hopelessly biased, that kid Owen. Unbelievable that he actually promotes the ‘federal state’ solution. And not a single word of criticism against Hamas, of course.”

        He’s a trained monkey.

    • And let’s say this is true Alex. that would make you happy? Sad? worried? Excited about the potential blood which will follow?
      All I’ve seen was Owen being a twat who believes he knows everything better than anyone else as if he was actualy there.
      Maybe had he been in the Israeli central command building the weeks prior to the operation and focused on everything attack he might have had credability.
      He wasn’t. and As several of the panel told him the tit for tat could be taken back a long long way.

      • All this bollocks talk about the one-state solution … On the same theoretical basis you might as well say: let’s have a one-state world. Except …. what tiny proportion of people would want that?

        • Who cares what they want? Seriously, the one-state people often seem utterly baffled by the idea that the fact that neither Israelis nor Palestinians want a single state is rather important. What if they don’t want to eat their spinach? You make them.

      • Why do you always want bloodshed? All Israel needs to do is remove the settlements and occupation and return to the ’67 borders. Pigs might fly, but that’s the peaceful option.

        • “Why do you always want bloodshed?” More moral inversion. Israel wrote 12 times to the UN during 2012 asking for peaceful pressure to be put on Hamas to stop the rockets constantly bombarding her civilians. Only after years of provocation was she eventually forced to take precise action to target the rocket launch sites and the leading terrorists who directed their use.

          “All Israel needs to do is …” What about Hamas/the Palestinians? All Israel has ever asked is for the right to exist peacefully within secure borders. The Palestinians – to this day – refuse to allow even that, trumpeting their credibility as the “resistance” to the “occupation” of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva, Jerusalem etc etc.

        • All Israel needs to do is remove the settlements and occupation and return to the ’67 borders.

          Yeah right – and then the entire Muslim world would make friends with Israel overnight.

          And you suggest I should “think about what you say before posting”??

        • Could you please answer Golda Meir’s question, when she asked what has changed since 1966 and now in the Arab’s will for a settlement?
          They it all then and they still wanted Israel wiped. So, what’s changed?
          Their rhetorics only show they believe they can push us all away any minute now.

        • There are no “borders” of 67, otherwise gifted one. Your unabashed defence of bloody terrorists unveils you as a fellow of terror.

      • I see you’ve incisively refuted him point by point. I wish I had your depth of political sophistication. I’d be an MK by now.

        • “I’d be an MK by now.”

          You’re certainly racking up the votes around here – they’re just not good ones.

  5. terry malloy, that was a great video by Condell.
    That is a must hear for all the Guardian terror apologists for Hamastan.

    • Ed- Pat Condell had no horse in this fight. He’s a strongly committed atheist who has been as critical of certain Jewish practices and rituals as he had been toward the church of his birth (Catholic). However, over the last few years he has seen the evil and depravity emanating from jihadist Muslims (particularly in Gaza), and has now repeatedly spoken out against their anti-Semitism and their barbarism toward their own people. How others who may be sitting on the fence haven’t come to the same conclusions is beyond me.

      • Strange that you should say that. As an admirer of Hitchens, I saw that Hitchens, over the years, was becoming less anti Israel and overwhelmingly alarmed by the acceptance of Islam and Islamic behaviour into mainstream Western civilisation..

        • Yes, Nobbly. Too bad he’s gone, as he was coming round, although he was still compromised somewhat by his lifelong anti-Zionist positions, he was lifting his leg somewhat out off the mud. It’s a shame he’s gone.

          pretzelberg,

          Do you consider Hitchens to have been “anti-Muslim?”

  6. Good grief! Can’t ANYONE address the points in the discussion? Is this ALL the arguments you have left? I know your positions are untenable but you could at least TRY instead of sticking you fingers in your ears and going “nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah!

    • ” I know your positions are untenable but you could at least TRY instead of sticking you fingers in your ears and going “nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah nyaah!”

      This, from the man who said that all Israel needs to do is withdraw to the “67 borders” and all will be well.

      • Jeff, he didn’t hear you with his fingers in his ears and all the “nyaah nyaah nyaah” going on…

  7. @ toaf

    Don’t be unnerved these rabids are only talking to themselves

    @ commentary 101

    You surely wouldn’t want to see the back of me until I have completed, to my satisfaction, the cataloging the grotesque racist comments tolerated on here ?

    • Aren’t you amusing.
      Instead of addressing the (very) legitimate points penned by the articles here, you focus on the actions of (a few) commentators.
      Just run along. And thanks for proving my point, that, to you, Zionism is anathema.
      PS,
      If you’re busy “monitoring”(read trolling) comments on various blogs, well, I sincerely feel sorry for your daughter, fictitious as she may be.

      • Instead of addressing the (very) legitimate points penned by the articles here, you focus on the actions of (a few) commentators.

        It’s a fair point, however. Too much BTL bigotry here.

        • Still, you surely must have noticed his propensity to off-topic, completely ad-hominem comments.
          If he wants to debate the reply policy practiced here, let him email the mods, or address them personally. No reason for him to launch into his typical, meaningless one-liners.
          The BTL section should discuss the topic; period.
          And no one is forcing this blog down his throat. If he doesn’t like it, he knows where the “exit” button is.

          • The fact is: there are a lot of anti-Muslim posts here. They might be off-topic as regards the respective article in question – but they must be addressed.

            Especially as this is a website about prejudice.

          • “The fact is: there are a lot of anti-Muslim posts here. They might be off-topic as regards the respective article in question – but they must be addressed.”

            Oh, I see. When you say there’s “Too much BTL bigotry here,” you really mean too much against Muslims, and that that’s what needs to be addressed.

      • well, I sincerely feel sorry for your daughter, fictitious as she may be.

        Well I am sure she will be amused to learn how much of an obsession she has become on here

        But by the way….I don’t do cry baby stuff like write to mods. Let it all hang out. And isn’t monitoring what this blog is all about ?

  8. Where is the Guardian on these Hamas atrocities against Palestinians who criticize Hamas?
    Ooops, this doesn’t fit the Guardians propaganda against Israel, so the Guardian hypocrits say nothing.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/hamas-victim-dragged-streets-collaborator-widow-article-1.1208004

    Hamas victim dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by motorcycle was no collaborator, widow says.
    It was a sight that shocked the world — the corpse of Ribhi Badawi being dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by a motorcycle as Hamas gunmen fired into the air.
    Comments (26)
    Matthew Kalman
    NOVEMBER 26, 2012
    REUTERS

    Palestinian gunmen ride a motorcycle as they drag the body of a man, who was suspected of working for Israel, in Gaza City.

    It was a sight that shocked the world — the corpse of Ribhi Badawi being dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by a motorcycle as Hamas gunmen fired into the air.
    His crime? Collaborating with Israel to pinpoint Hamas targets.

    But the charge wasn’t true, the militant’s grieving widow told The News.
    Actually, Badawi, 37, had spent the last four years in a Hamas prison under armed guard. He was tortured for seven months into confessing that he was working for Israel.

    “They burned (him) and broke his jaw and teeth,” said his widow, Kholoud Badawi. “He was hanged for 45 days by his arms and legs to make him confess. He confessed because of the torture.
    “He told me every detail of what had happened to him and he gave me a diary he was writing,” she added.

    Ribhi Badawi was no innocent, having belonged to the Jaljalat Brigades, an Islamic group that wanted the Palestinians ruled by strict religious law.
    But he was sentenced to death in a show trial. His family appealed and asked that the sentence be reduced to 10 years in prison, and the court was due to rule the day he was executed.

    “We hoped they would accept our appeal because they had no evidence — just his supposed confession,” she said.

    As Kholoud and her five young children accepted the condolences of neighbors and friends in their tiny home in the poverty-stricken Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City, friends and neighbors said Badawi was a kind, helpful man who made a living as a herbalist.

    They said he once broke down a wall to save an elderly, disabled neighbor whose house was hit in an Israeli airstrike.
    Badawi’s father, Ahmed, said his son hated the Israelis more than Hamas.
    “My son could never have been an informer,” he said. “They say he got money from the Israelis. Look at his house. This is the house of a poor man. He helped everyone. Everybody liked him. I bless him.”

    Hamas officials declined to comment. They referred reporters to comments last week by a Hamas leader who said such executions must not happen again.

    • Guardian officials declined to comment. They referred reporters to comments last week by a Hamas leader who said such executions must not happen again.

      That shoe fits easily…

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