Is a lie of omission still a lie? Guardian report failed to include key words in Lieberman quote

Harriet Sherwood published a report today, Nov. 6, on the acquittal of Avigdor Lieberman, titled ‘Avigdor Lieberman to return to Israeli cabinet after corruption acquittal‘. Whilst there is nothing especially problematic in Sherwood’s report about Lieberman, who was cleared on charges of fraud in a unanimous ruling by three judges after a lengthy trial, we noted a related ‘recommended’ article on the right side bar:


The 2009 article, by the paper’s former Jerusalem correspondent, Rory McCarthy, is a profile of the Yisrael Beiteinu party leader (and former foreign minister), titled ‘The rise of Israel’s foreign minister‘, which includes the following claim:

In typically blunt terms Lieberman has called for the trial and execution of Arab fellow MPs.

However, upon researching the claim it became clear that McCarthy omitted a few words in Lieberman’s quote, which go back to comments attributed to him in May, 2006. Here’s a translation of a Hebrew media report on what he said on the floor of the Israeli Knesset:

Lieberman called the execution of Arab Israeli MKs who met with the Hamas…

Whilst Lieberman’s comments were still, quite obviously, extremely inflammatory (and were condemned at the time by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as an act of “incitement”), Guardian readers who come across McCarthy’s report could likely believe (falsely) that Lieberman was calling for death sentences to be carried out arbitrarily against Arab members of the Israeli Knesset.

It’s quite notable that other news sites (even ones not typically friendly to Israel) got the 2006 Lieberman quote right, including even Electronic Intifada (EI).  An EI post shortly after Lieberman’s comments were published included the following:

A few days previously, on 5 May, Lieberman expressed the hope that Arab legislators who met with the Hamas leadership be put on trial and executed

Interestingly, even McCarthy’s colleagues have accurately reported his comments.

Extreme left Guardian columnist Jonathan Steele got the quote correct in a 2006 essay, which included the following:

Lieberman has described Tibi and other Israeli Arabs who have met Hamas officials as traitors. They should be executed, he said…

Here’s Peter Beaumont – foreign editor of The Observer, sister publication of the Guardian - in 2012:

 At various times he has called for the expulsion of Israel’s Arab population, [and] the “execution” of Arab MPs who met with leaders of Hamas,

Bottom line?  

A ‘lie of omission’ is still a lie.

23 comments on “Is a lie of omission still a lie? Guardian report failed to include key words in Lieberman quote

  1. Many Israelis will not find it surprising if Liberman swindled that trial.
    Too many whitnesses “changed their minds”… All too familliar scenario.

    Don’t you worry Comrade Avigdor, Vladimir Putin sends his regards to the returning CCCP rep. in the ME.

    I guess that’s off topic though.

  2. Sure… Let’s ignore the fact that a political leader has pronounced the suitable verdict and sentence. He wanted a trial before convicting them and killing them! As long as they were killed for the offense he was happy.

    I love reading this website. It’s always nice to know what the lunatic racist fringe is up to. And you are the lunatic racist fringe along with the rest of the camera org

    I will continue to read but you and your supporters need professional help.

    • You’re not from around here, are you?
      You’re supposed show up here and, at first, pretend to be fair-minded and honest, for at least a few days worth of posts and build up to throwing around the word “racist” like an infant flinging its food.
      When you go for “racist” as a first resort, as you do, you give the whole show away. You blew it kid.

    • You seem consider the fact that they are Arab to be telling you all you need to know about what they deserve, while dismissing their actions and words as irrelevant. And we are the racists?

    • It doesn’t raise any eyebrows when a political leader states that collaborators and abettors should be put to death, unless of course, that leader happens to be Israeli.

      Jews are still around. We’ve survived much more formidable opponents than a laughing stock.

        • Right as rain Gerald.

          I’d be willing to bet that Laughing Stock doesn’t have a problem with the PA executing anyone who has sold land to Jews.

    • ‘Laughing’
      “I love reading this website” Good and who explains what the ‘big’ words mean to you?

      “I will continue to read..” Good you keep practising, then after you have reached a level higher than that of a 6 year old you can start learning how to think and understand concepts such as fact and truth. Although clearly they are too advanced for you at present.

      “..but you and your supporters need professional help.” Indeed I do. The head gasket has blown on my car. Do you know any professional mechanics?

    • I doubt that you love reading it as you do not understand what you read here. Writing and reading turn into cultural techniques when a good level understanding is reached, a level quite out of reach for you.

  3. Can you clarify did he say only Palestinians who met HAMAS will be executed?
    Or would it include Israeli Jews who met HAMAS? What about those who met Arafat?

    Did Arafat met Arafat? is that why he was executed?

    • To the new sock puppet. If Israel did indeed kill Arafat, it’s because he was carrying out a terrorist campaign of killing Israelis. In war, killing one’s enemies is standard. Unless of course, it’s Israel in which a different (read: impossible) standard appplies.

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