CiF Watch prompts improved language to Indy description of Israel’s security fence


On July 4th, we posted about a mostly unproblematic and indeed quite interesting report in The Independent by Michael McCarthy about Jerusalem’s Bird Observatory which nonetheless included a short passage containing a misleading characterization of Israel’s security fence. Here are the passages, with the relevant sentence in bold:

For Jerusalem overwhelms you. In the Old City, sacred to all three Abrahamical religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims, history and tradition are overpowering, as are the assaults on the senses: the sunlight flashing on copper coffee pots, an Arab flute being played somewhere, the bewildering mix of languages, the smells of cumin and cardamom and coriander.

But the politics is the most overpowering phenomenon of all, and the anguish of two hostile peoples struggling for one land is never more than a glance away. It’s seen above all now in The Wall, the 25ft-high separation barrier the Israelis have built between their Jewish citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank, and whether or not you agree with the argument for it – that the Arab suicide bombings of the Second Intifada became an intolerable burden on Israeli civil society – there is no doubt that it now appears, snaking over the hills, as something monstrous. 

As we noted in our post,  Israel’s security fence was of course built to serve as a protective barrier between Israeli citizens (of all religious backgrounds) and Palestinians of the West Bank who are not Israeli citizens.  The language in McCarthy’s report could easily be interpreted as meaning that only the state’s Jewish citizens were being protected, and that the barrier had a racial component.

After contacting Indy editors we received an extremely thoughtful reply, explaining that the passage did accurately reflect the fact that the terrorist campaign during the 2nd Intifada which prompted Israel to construct the security fence did have a religious component, insofar as terror groups were attacking Israel due to the fact that it is a ‘Jewish’ state.   While this is a credible argument, editors ultimately accepted our concerns, and revised the language accordingly, omitting the word “Jewish”, so that the sentence now reads:

“It’s seen above all now in The Wall, the 25ft-high separation barrier the Israelis have built between their citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank…”

We commend Indy editors for responsibly responding to our complaint.

67 comments on “CiF Watch prompts improved language to Indy description of Israel’s security fence

  1. I guess that positive reinforcement is a good thing, but it should also be noted that the barrier is “25 feet high” for only about 5% of its length.

  2. …between their Jewish citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank

    Absolutely effin ridiculous.

    The Israelis have a reputation for their high-tech savvy. But not even they could come up with a smart-barrier that can distinguish Jew from Arab.

  3. It is great that you were able to get the Indy to correct its reporting on the Israeli security wall. Now all that remains is a survey of the Israeli Palestinians on how safe they find themselves within the security wall. I suspect if that survey is compared with a similar survey of Jewish Israelis the comparison would be very revealing.

    • “Now all that remains is …”

      Oh goody. So your survey, “Alan” (nice to see your new moniker doesn’t begin with J like most of your other recent ones) is “all that remains”. Never mind the persistent tendency of the media to mention the barrier in completely irrelevant contexts, to ignore the context and reasons for its construction, to ignore the relative safety that Israelis now live in compared to the regularity of bus, restaurant and night club bombings they had to suffer before. None of these are important. Just “Alan”‘s survey.

      Well done to CifWatch for proving that determination in the face of shoddy reporting can have (at least some) results.

    • Since you imply a hypothesis, why don’t get off your lazy butt, do the research, and prove it instead of making veiled, wild accusations.

  4. Labenal Never mind the Third Reich thought they had a very good explanation for those hygienic chambers they built. Pity we did not deny their explanations and dismantled the chambers before so many lost their lives.

    I hope you do not mind me asking you seem very embedded in the security services you have access to all that modern software that can analyse to such a minute detail – but never mind have you got nothing better to analyze? Did you notice A-B combination. I will think of getting better software tools.

    • What an incoherent, incomprehensible, irrelevant rant. I can’t respond in a substantive way any more than I could have a political discussion with a developmentally challenged amoeba with severe learning difficulties and chronic tourettes.

      (Apologies to any sufferers of learning disabilities, tourettes syndrome or any amoebas reading this blog. I realise that you would all be totally offended by any association with “Alan Bird” or any of his other incarnations).

    • “Never mind the Third Reich thought they had a very good explanation for those hygienic chambers they built.”
      Yes, of course, your forebears. As now you attempt to build rhetorical chambers from which the truth may not escape.

    • Alan Bird:
      “Labenal Never mind the Third Reich thought they had a very good explanation for those hygienic chambers they built. Pity we did not deny their explanations and dismantled the chambers before so many lost their lives.”

      Does anybody have a clue what this bozo is on about?

  5. Having said all that Labenal you understood every word of it. Is that what annoyed you so much?

    • “Alan”. Perhaps you need a dictionary. The use of the words “incoherent and incomprehensible” tend to suggest that I could make neither head nor tail of your garbage.

      Please don’t bother trying to explain it though, it’s too hot to bother with scum like you. I’m off for a pint!

  6. Michael – I got off that lazy butt and did some research and found the following – I hope the research meets your exacting requirements even though it is not the result you expected.

    The inequality has even driven some Palestinians in Israel – including some with Israeli citizenship – to leave for Ramallah, often in search of an Arab-speaking, culturally Palestinian environment.

    “If things don’t change soon, going abroad will be the only option left,” Anwar said.

    *not a real name

  7. The suicide bombings were a foul and ghastly episode and who can blame the Israelis for wanting a fence?. It would cause less outrage if it were on Israeli land but that I suppose is a technical point.

    • “The suicide bombings were a foul and ghastly episode and who can blame the Israelis for wanting a fence?.”
      Rosco are you attempting to minimise the number of terrorist attacks in Israel by using the formulation of words “foul and ghastly episode”?
      “..who can blame the Israelis for wanting a fence?.”
      Again the formulation of words you use is ambiguous. So, Rosco Yes or No, without any ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’, do you support the right of Israel to take steps to protect its citizens including erecting a security fence?

    • Something that you overlook is that although suicide bombings have not been carried out, it doesn’t mean that they haven’t been attempted.

  8. Michael which episode of the suicide bomb initiated the colonization by the Zionists of Palestine? I would love to learn about the suicide bombs in Europe in the 19th Century even if it is out of the Idiot’s guide to History.

    • “Michael which episode of the suicide bomb initiated the colonization by the Zionists of Palestine?”
      Suicide bombing is illegal – it’s murder and its terrorism. Colonization of Palestine by Jews was legal. Let’s be clear here, “Alan,” the historical origins of the name Palestine has absolutely zilch to do with the Arabs who now call themselves the Palestinian People. The name was for almost twenty centuries always related to the Jews, i.e., their ancestral home. And after WWI the British didn’t create the territory and name it Palestine because of a group of Arabs known at that time as the Palestinian People.
      This is a newly minted Arab nationalism based on the rejection, of a Jewish homeland in its midst, and making a false historical claim as to its origins. And it teaches a false national history to its children, as there is no national history or nation, and it heavily indoctrinates them with racist and religious hatred, and a right of return, where there is no such right.
      And you know this, “Alan.”

  9. Jeff none of it is on PA controlled land as PA controls FA – You know that I know that however Obama still thinks PA controls Palestine – although he is not very sure where Palestine is. He is of the opinion it is a virtual place somewhere in the ether

  10. Jeff, may be it was legal but was it just? Obviously not. How it can it be just to occupy another persons house?

    South African Racial Laws were legal but not just. See the difference Jeff.

    • Can Boers trace their ancestry in South Africa back to the time of the Bible? Jews can vis a vis Israel and have continuously inhabited the Land of Israel since before there were any Arabs whatsoever. Therefore, it’s the Arabs who occupy the Jewish house.

    • “Jeff, may be it was legal but was it just?”
      Yes.
      “South African Racial Laws were legal but not just. See the difference Jeff.”
      Yes, I do. The two situations are not even comparable.

  11. Can you Michael? Must be record in tracing ancestry. Have you published the findings? I am sure it warrants a Nobel Prize for something even if it is for bull shit

    • If you try to ignore or revise history to your liking then there’s no sense in talking to a bull—— like you.

      Furthermore, that’s where parentage becomes important Someone can only be Jewish if his / her mother was also Jewish. That mother can only be Jewish if her mother was so, back to Jacob’s wives.

      • I know several people who have traced their family tree back to biblical times. It’s really not that difficult if you come from a prominent or rabinical family, as Jews are people who have always written a great deal and for whom ancestry is important. Once you get to an ancestor mentioned in any of the writings (a commentator on the Torah, for example) their ancestry will have already been worked out for you.

        No Nobel prizes required, just a warm fuzzy feeling you are part of a chain that might include some great thinkers and potentially prophets or kings from biblical times.

        • That’s true Itsik, but I believe that the vast majority of Jews go back to Yaakov. Also, some of those converts are descended from forced converts to Christianity and Islam.

  12. In the Old City, sacred to all three Abrahamical religions, Jews, Christians and Muslims

    Jerusalem is not mentioned once in Islamic scriptures. It only became “holy” to Muslims after they invaded it and made it their own. The tradition and practice of tearing down religious buildings of non-Muslims by invading Islamic hoards and building mosques upon their foundations is quite common.

    Anyway, I hear there are plans afoot to expand and strengthen this particular fence:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexico%E2%80%93United_States_barrier

  13. Oh Jeff, I can trace my ancestry to Adam. I have documented proof. The Quran, the Bible and the Torah all provide sufficient evidence to link my ancestry to Adam. Now was Adam in South Africa or Palestine.

    • “Oh Jeff, I can trace my ancestry to Adam.”

      I doubt you can trace your own ancestry back to your parents!
      Even if you know who your Mother was, I bet she can’t remember who your Father was or supposed to be.

    • “Dirk,”
      Why are you addressing your nonsense to me? I never made a comment about tracing anyone’s ancestry. I think you mistook me for Michael, probably while you were being “Alan.”

  14. June is lying. You will not be getting a Nobel Prize for lying. Muslims prayed facing Jerusalem for a while before changing to Kaaba.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerusalem_in_Islam

    It was the first direction of prayer in Islam, before the Kaaba in Mecca;
    According to the Quran Muhammad was taken by the miraculous steed Buraq to visit the Farthest Mosque (which many Muslims believe is the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem), where he prayed, and was then taken to heaven, in a single night in the year 620 This event is known as Isra wal Mi’raj, in Islamic tradition.
    Prophet Muhammad’s journey to the Farthest Mosque is mentioned in the Qur’an, in the verse (17:1).[2] The verse states:
    “Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.”
    — Qur’an, Sura 17 (Al-Is’ra), ayat 1[3]

    • Nevertheless, it’s you who attempt to deceive. Jerusalem is never mentioned by name a single time in the Quran. It appears in Tanach more than 700 times.

      • Dirk is a troll. Al Aqsa mosque didn’t even exist in Mohammad’s time, the invading followers of Mohammad claimed Jerusalem as their holy land only because Jews claimed it was theirs’.”Farthest mosque” could mean anywhere – how long is a piece of string?

    • Dirt Biograde:

      “which many Muslims believe is the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem”

      Did you notice how you slipt that word? “Believe”…
      Where does it say Jerusalem?
      What Sura?

    • “Dirk,”
      Firstly, June doesn’t lie.
      Secondly, the short-lived tradition of Muslims praying while facing Jerusalem was because of the Jewish tradition.

  15. Michael difficult to argue with a Nobel Prize winner. However, consider this no doubt that early Muslims prayed facing Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the location of one of the most significant event in the Prophet’s life as a Prophet.

    Having said all this Moses is still a Prophet to the Muslims as is Abraham, Ismael,Isaac, and indeed, Jesus. For all these Prophets Jerusalem was central and it follows therefore that Jerusalem is key to the Islamic faith as it is to any other faith. Anyway the key issue is not the faith. Even though we may be Christians, Jews or Muslims we have no right to take somebody’s house in Jerusalem much less to chuck a citizen of Jerusalem out because of his faith or lack of it.

    Can I possibly read your lineage going back 2000 years would make interesting reading and perhaps provide an intersection between our lineage. Mind you I have not been able to go that far. Was lost somewhere in Turkey in the 17th Century.

    • Dirk@

      “Anyway the key issue is not the faith. Even though we may be Christians, Jews or Muslims we have no right to take somebody’s house in Jerusalem much less to chuck a citizen of Jerusalem out because of his faith or lack of it. ”

      Is that why the Muslims wrote on the Jews home just before 1948?
      They had a plan to nick their homes.

    • What is it with you and the Nobel Prize? You haven’t listed a single winner.

      Anyway, are you going to tell me that Muslims, like Jews, face Jerusalem instead of Mecca when they pray?

    • The Prophet never spent a nanosecond of his life in Jerusalem. Its importance to Muslims is based on the Jewish traditions.

  16. In my stupidity I thought religions are all about believe. There are those who think it is a matter of fact. Please be informed it is not. It is a believe. Some even think they can trace their lineage to Abraham. But that is their believe who am I to argue with them. It never the less is not a fact.

    I am not sure exactly when the Judaic faith stopped conversions. I think it is even possible to convert now. So how does anybody know their lineage based on rabbinical records when many would have been converts. Besides what happened to those Jews who converted to other faiths. Did they lose their lineage. We are getting into some interesting territory here just so that some stupid ideas about race and racism can be defended when we know they are indefensible.

    • “In my stupidity I thought religions are all about believe. ”
      Yes, it’s a stupidity that knows no bounds.

    • Dirk – if you ever learned to read, you would see that at no time did I say that ALL Jews can trace their heritage back to biblical times. I said that I know SOME who can, and said it is not difficult IF you come from a prominent/rabinnic family. Your allegation that documented history is a “believe” (sic) is interesting. I suppose it is a “believe” that Queen Victoria was Prince Albert’s cousin? Or that Queen Elizabeth I was Henry VIII’s daughter?

      Personally, I can’t trace my family beyond 4 generations, because they came from an area where Jewish records were devastated by the Kossacks, then the Bolsheviks, then the Nazis, then the Stalinists.

  17. The nazi DirkJasonIsmailAlanNatieNick starts again to repeat his antisemitc propaganda

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