How disinformation works: science and tech magazine misleads on Jerusalem

How It Works is a science and tech magazine launched in 2009, and is published by the UK-based Imagine Publishing.

The magazine, available in print, digital and online editions, describes itself thusly:

How it Works’ expert explanations, dynamic cutaways and breathtaking images provide fuel for imaginations across all ages, helping its eager audience to understand and explore the wonders of the modern world, and making complex topics into accessible entertainment. How it Works stands for clarity, authority, intelligence and knowledge, which is why the brand is successful worldwide in all its forms – print, digital and online.

The latest edition, Volume 5, is currently on sale. A friend purchased one this week at a Toronto bookstore. 

photo 1It includes a two page feature about the history of Jerusalem.

 

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The piece includes a timeline, graphics and a short article explaining the city’s historic significance.

Here’s a blurb at the bottom of the article:

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Guardian: Israel built security fence to “protect” (FULL QUOTES) Jewish settlers

On Dec. 6th the Guardian published a profile of Leila Sansour, the Bethlehem born, British director of the documentary Open Bethlehem.

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The article, by Nick McGrath, included some background on the Christian holy city, as well as a paragraph describing the director’s return home.

Leila first returned to Bethlehem in 2002 to direct her debut feature film, Jeremy Hardy Versus the Israeli Army, which was set against the backdrop of the Israeli siege of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity in 2002. By the time she returned in 2004, 180km of concrete wall, eight-metres high, built by the Israelis to “protect” increasing numbers of Jewish settlers from Palestinian attacks, now dominated the landscape and Leila’s cousin Carol was the only family member still in the city.

First, note the bizarre use of quotes around the word “protect“.

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‘Footballer’ Mahmoud Sarsak and Israel’s plot “to eradicate Palestinian sports”

A 2012 Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood ‘Palestinian footballers hunger strike sparks fears for his life‘ informed readers that Mahmoud Sarsak was “a former member of the Palestinian national football team” who “remain[ed] on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge”.

“A former member of the Palestinian national football team remains on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge…

“Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has refused food for 80 days, since 19 March. He began his hunger strike after his “administrative detention” order was renewed for the sixth time.”

“He was arrested in July 2009 while on his way from his home in Gaza to a national contest in the West Bank.”

“Sarsak’s family deny that he is a member of any militant organisation.”

However, as we noted at the time, the Guardian failed to inform readers that Sarsak – when he wasn’t playing football – was allegedly an active member of the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and that the Israeli Supreme Court had upheld his detention out of concerns he would rejoin the terror organization if released.

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Merry Christmas from the Holy Land!

We’d like to take this time to wish you, our loyal readers, peace, good will and happiness during Christmas and throughout the New Year.

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A man wearing a Santa costume carries a Christmas tree, handed out free by the Jerusalem municipality, as he walks past a vendor in Jerusalem’s Old City, Israel, December 22, 2010.

Independent falsely claims the Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site

Since 2013, CiF Watch has prompted two corrections at the The Telegraph to reports erroneously claiming that the Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site. As we noted in previous posts, the Temple Mount (where the First and Second Temples stood) is in fact the holiest site, while the Western Wall (The Kotel) is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently permitted to pray.

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The latest British newspaper to make this mistake is the Independent, in Adam Sherwin’s Dec. 19th article (Sarah Silverman accuses Jerusalem authorities of sex discrimination).

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Guardian letter notes the evils of our time: War, racism, rape…and Zionism

If you want to see a good example of the Guardian Left’s malign anti-Zionist obsession, and the capacity of some advocates for peace and progress to become nearly deranged when contemplating the Jewish state, look no further than this letter published by the Guardian on Dec. 11th, praising Bradley Manning’s defense of transgender rights. 

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Guardian misleads on autopsy results of convicted terrorist Ziad Abu Ein

On Dec. 11th we asked a simple question after an autopsy (by Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian forensic doctors) of Ziad Abu Ein – the terrorist cum Palestinian minister who died in the West Bank on Dec. 10th following a confrontation with Israeli soldiers – concluded that he died from a stress-induced heart attack.

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The question was raised in the context of a Guardian report by Peter Beaumont on the day Abu Ein died which almost entirely focused on Palestinian claims that he died as the result of either a punch, kick or gun butt to the head, or by the impact of a tear gas canister administered by an Israeli soldier.  

Sure enough, Peter Beaumont’s Dec. 12th follow-up story on Abu Ein failed to clearly report on the autopsy results.

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Guardian/AP omits ‘minor’ detail in story: An alleged Palestinian plot to kill Obama

The Guardian tradition of tendentious, misleading editing in stories involving Israelis and Palestinians is again revealed in a comparison between a Dec. 9th Associated Press (AP) story on an American Christian indicted in Israel on charges of trying to blow up Muslim holy sites, and the Guardian version of that same story. 

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Guardian legitimizes claim that Jews are responsible for European antisemitism

For every letter published at the Guardian, presumably there are hundreds which, due to space limitations and editorial decisions, don’t get published.  Thus, their letters editor must carefully choose a select few based (one would think) the seriousness of the argument, and conversely omit letters which promote or excuse racism, or otherwise fail to abide by their community standards.

Yet, as we have exposed on several occasions, they have sometimes chosen letters from writers with extremist and/or racist views.

Here are a few examples:

  • The Guardian published a letter by a philosophy professor named Ted Honderich which justified, on moral grounds, the Palestinians’ right to murder Jews in the ‘occupied territories’.
  • They also published a letter by Alison Weir, whose notoriety stems from her spirited defense of the hideous libel that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian to harvest their organs, and in fact further defended her blood libel in the body of the letter.
  • And, they published a letter by a neo-Nazi style racist named Gilad Atzmon which defended his book ‘The Wandering Who?’, a work which the CST characterized as “probably the most antisemitic book published in this country in recent years.”

Today (June 25th) the Guardian published three letters all taking aim at a recent op-ed published at the Guardian’s blog, ‘Comment is Free’, by Noreena Hertz warning of an upsurge in antisemitism in the EU (Europe must face up to the new antisemites, 21 June), and included one letter by a Londoner named Benedict Birnberg.

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Here’s the full text of his letter:

Antisemitism is an age-old phenomenon long preceding the emergence of Israel – with the role of churches playing a part – and Noreena Hertz is right to talk of individual responsibility in combatting it (Europe must face up to the new antisemites, 21 June). But it is odd that she is silent on Israel’s own responsibility in fomenting antisemitism and that she castigates leftists for “kneejerk anti-Zionism”.

Israeli policies have often fanned the flames of antisemitism with their obdurate denial of justice to the Palestinians and, indeed, a large part of the radicalisation of Muslims and “the increasingly violent cadres of Islamic extremists”, which she describes as one of the three prongs of antisemitism, can be attributed to Israeli government policies. It is the kneejerk responses of Israel towards the Palestinians that bear a heavy responsibility for antisemitism today. The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit has recently spoken of Israel sitting on a volcano; it behoves individual Jews, wherever they happen to be, to use their influence to change Israel’s policies.

First, per the final sentence of the letter, Birnberg holds Jews worldwide responsible for the actions of Jews in Israel – a doctrine (“accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group”) codified as antisemitic by the EUMC Working Definition.  

Moreover, in blaming the Jewish State for “fomenting” (inciting) antisemitism and the radicalization of violent Islamist extremists, he’s both infantilizing antisemites and Jihadists by denying them moral agency, and, most troubling, implicitly blaming Jewish victims of European antisemitism (most of whom, remember, are Zionists) for the hatred directed at them.

Birnberg’s screed is simply a textbook case of antisemitism, and represents a perfect illustration of the racist impulse to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.”  

It’s instructive to wonder if Guardian editors would have published a letter which, say, excused Islamophobia as a rational response to Muslim behavior around the world, or blamed ‘immodestly dressed’ women for inciting men to commit rape.

As the late Norman Geras said in the context of condemning the Guardian’s appalling editorial on the Toulouse Massacre which avoided so much as mentioning the word “antisemitism”, but which reflected the media group’s broader ideological blind spot:  

It is “incomprehensible” that “a liberal newspaper, committed to racism’s never being acceptable anywhere, can find the words to name the poison that is rightwing anti-immigrant xenophobia, but not the word for hatred of Jews”.

We look forward to the day when the Guardian Left applies universal standards to their professed opposition to racism in all its forms, and becomes as intolerant towards rationalizationsexcuses and alibis for antisemitism as they are towards senseless hatred directed towards all other historically oppressed groups.

Revisiting Daily Mail journo Max Hasting’s Guardian-inspired take on antisemitism

Over the past year or so, we’ve been exposing anti-Israel bias, and the legitimization of antisemitism, at UK news sites other than the Guardian – examining coverage at The Independent, Daily Telegraph, The Times, Financial Times and the Economist.  So, when interest was expressed by some concerned readers about the Daily Mail (the most popular newspaper in the UK), specifically an article published by Max Hastings examining the role Western policy has played in the extreme violence taking place in the Middle East, we decided to take a look.

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Sir Max Hugh Macdonald Hastings

Though, in fairness, his conclusion – save one throw-away line about the alleged injurious impact of Israel’s birth – is measured, and admirably avoids the Guardian Left narrative by holding Arabs responsible for their own political dysfunction, in briefly examining Hastings’ past writings we encountered a decidedly ‘Guardianesque’ op-ed on antisemitism published at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ in 2004.

Indeed, his conclusions about the root cause of the rising tide of antisemitism which plagued Europe in the early to mid-2000s overlapped perfectly with an op-ed by the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont which we fisked recently at this blog.  

Our post last month, titled Why the Guardian’s new Jerusalem correspondent won’t take Palestinian antisemitism seriously‘, highlighted an op-ed he wrote for the Observer (sister site of the Guardian) in 2002 titled ‘The new anti-Semitism?’ which suggested that Israel’s “heavy-handed” response to the al-Aqsa intifada fomented anti-Jewish racism across the continent.

So, it was quite interesting to read Hastings own 2004 Guardian op-ed titled ‘A grotesque choice‘, which included a strap line (“Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people is fueling a resurgence of antisemitism”) that perfectly comports with Beaumont’s view. In addition to arguing that the “Israeli government’s behaviour to the Palestinians breeds a despair that finds its only outlet in terrorism” and accusing some in the Jewish community of cynically using the charge of antisemitism to silence critics of Israeli policy (The Livingstone Formulation), which he blasts as a form of “moral blackmail”, he makes the following argument:

If Israel persists with its current policies, and Jewish lobbies around the world continue to express solidarity with repression of the Palestinians, then genuine anti-semitism is bound to increase.

This chilling line perfectly embodies the moral calculus which has been employed by defenders of antisemitism for ages, one which grotesquely assigns blame for antisemitic attacks not on the perpetrators of such racist violence, but on the behavior of Jews themselves – an insidious example of blaming the victim which overlaps with Ben White’s notorious 2001 CounterPunch essay titled ‘Is it possible to understand the rise in antisemitism?“.

We have only just begun to monitor the Daily Mail’s coverage of the Middle East, but as we do so, we will – consistent with our posts on the Guardian – avoid looking at their reports and op-eds in a vacuum.  Instead, as this expose of Hastings’ shameful justification of antisemitism demonstrates, we believe it is far more instructive to contextualize their reports and op-eds by attempting to explain how their often pronounced ideological biases color their coverage of Israel and the Jewish people. 

CiF Watch prompts correction to Guardian mistranslation of Israeli Facebook page

A couple of hours ago, we posted about a Guardian report by Orlando Crowcroft (‘Israeli leader meets families of missing teenagers as search continues, June 17th), which noted the social media battles being waged by Israelis and Palestinians over the terrorist kidnapping of three Israeli teens last Thursday, and included the following claim:

Not all the online responses to the incident have been benign. A Facebook page calling for Israel to kill one Palestinian an hour until the three teenagers are returned has received more than 18,000 “likes” since it was set up on 13 June.

However, as other media sites (as well as the anti-Israel blog, Electronic Intifada) reported, the name of the page accurately translates to:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

Crowcroft had omitted the word “terrorist” and added the word “Palestinian” to the name.  

Whilst the Facebook page – even accurately translated – is clearly still offensive, there’s obviously a huge difference between the call to kill terrorists and the call to kill innocent Palestinians. 

Shortly after contacting Guardian editors, they replied and informed us that they had corrected the passage. It now reads:

Not all the online responses to the incident have been benign. A Facebook page calling for Israel to kill one Palestinian terrorist an hour until the three teenagers are returned has received more than 18,000 “likes” since it was set up on 13 June.

Further, the following addendum appears at the bottom of the article.

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We commend Guardian editors for their prompt correction.

One final note: The Hebrew name of the Facebook page actually doesn’t include the word “Palestinian”. So, while the Guardian’s revised text does more accurately reflect the aims of the Facebook page, it’s important to note that the exact translation is: ‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.’

UK media coverage of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens – a CiF Watch review

On June 15th, we posted about a Guardian report co-authored by Peter Beaumont which included a gratuitous (and erroneous) characterization to the three Israeli teens abducted by Palestinian terrorists on Thursday night as “teenage settlers”.  (As we noted in a subsequent post, the Guardian amended the article following our complaint.)

Today, we’re reviewing the coverage of the abduction by the Guardian and other major UK news sites (The Telegraph, Independent, Times of London, and Financial Times), to determine if other reports include tendentious, biased reporting or misleading claims.

The Guardian:

The first report on the incident was written by Peter Beaumont and Paul Lewis on Friday, June 13, was titled ‘Israelis launch search around Hebron after three teenage settlers go missing‘, and (as we noted) falsely claimed, in the headline and subsequent text, that the abducted teens were all “settlers”.

The second report by Beaumont was published in the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) on June 14th, was titled Fears grow for missing Israeli teenagers and also included the false claim that the three were ‘settlers’. (The Guardian has not thus far revised this passage.)

A third report, Guardian/Associated Press, was published on June 14th and titled ‘Israeli raids target Hamas members as Netanyahu accuses group of kidnapping. Unlike the previous two reports, it didn’t characterize the teens as settlers, and included no other misleading claims.

A fourth report was published by Beaumont on June 15th titled ‘Israeli forces tighten grip on West Bank in search for three abducted teenagers‘. This report also didn’t falsely characterize the teens as settlers, and included nothing similarly problematic.

A fifth report was published by Beaumont (and Agencies) on June 15th titled ‘Israel detains scores in West Bank as fears grow for missing teenagers‘, and included nothing problematic. However, they used the following still shot – a deceptive photo illustrating the IDF’s search for the abducted teens, in an angle in which the soldier’s rifle appears to be pointing directly at Palestinian civilians – accompanying a brief video.

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A sixth report was filed by Beaumont (and Agencies) on June 16th titled ‘Palestinian parliamentary speaker arrested in search for kidnapped teens‘.  And, a seventh report by Beaumont was published on the same day titled Israel considering expelling Hamas leaders from West Bank to Gaza‘.  Neither of these articles included any especially problematic material.

The Independent

The first Indy report on the abduction was written by Ben Lynfield on June 15th, was titled ‘Israel lays blame for abduction of teenagers on Fatah-Hamas pact‘, and was largely fair, but did include the same highly inappropriate photo that the Guardian used.

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A second report (as we noted in our previous post on June 15th) in the Indy, written by Jack Simpson, was titled ‘Netanyahu accuses Hamas of kidnapping Israel’s three missing boys‘ and included the false suggestion that all three teens lived in settlements.  (Indy editors corrected the relevant passage shortly after our complaint.)  A third report in the Indy, by Lizzie Dearden, on June 16th, titled ‘Facebook campaign calls on Israelis to kill a Palestinian ‘terrorist’ every hour until missing teenagers found‘, focused on a marginal Israeli Facebook group while of course ignoring reports that the official Facebook page of Fatah openly celebrated the terrorist kidnapping. 

A fourth report in the Indy, by Ben Lynfield, on June 17th, titled ‘Israeli search for kidnapped youths turns into push against Hamas‘, actually included a photo of the three teens, and – as we note below in our summary – also stood out by reporting on the “60 attempts to carry out abductions  in the past 12 months” by Palestinian terrorists.  (As we note in our summary, such vital context was also non-existent in the UK media’s reporting on the incident.)

Times of London

A Times report by David Rankin on June 14th, titled ‘Search continues for three teens feared kidnapped in Israeland a second report by Tony Bonnici on June 15th, titled ‘Israel PM says teenagers ‘kidnapped by terror group‘, are both unproblematic.  A June 16th report at the Times by Joshua Mitnick titled ‘Hamas leaders held in Israeli hunt for kidnapped teenagers‘ was unusual in respect to the fact that Mitnick quoted the parents of Eyal Yifrach, one of the kidnapped boys, who addressed the media on Monday with ‘an emotional address to their son’. (As we note in our summary, the UK media mostly ignored the families of the kidnapped teens.)

The Telegraph

The Telegraph published a report on June 15th by their Jerusalem correspondent Robert Tait titled Hamas to blame for youths’ “kidnapping”, Benjamin Netanyahu says, and was unproblematic, save a curious use of quotes around the word “kidnapping” in the headline. (Note: even the Guardian refers to the incident as a kidnapping, without the use of quotes.)  And, on the same day, the Telegraph published a story (attributed partially to Reuters) titled ‘Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas militants behind teenagers’ abduction‘ which included a video of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s press conference that day.

The third article (Reuters) published at the Telegraph on June 16th, titled ‘Hamas kidnapping: Israel expands West Bank hunt for Palestinian teenagers as Palestinian killed‘, is illustrated with an unrelated and highly inappropriate photo depicting the aftermath of an Israeli strike in Gaza. Additionally, the caption failed to explain that the IDF strike came in response to the firing of Grad rockets at Ashkelon the previous day.  

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However, almost as if to make up for the misleading and inappropriate Gaza photo, the story also included a photo of the abducted teens to illustrate the story.

addendumLater the same day, the Telegraph published their fourth report, by Robert Tait, titled ‘The bus stop that voices Israel’s anguish over missing teenagers‘, which, for the second time in their coverage of the kidnapping to date, used a photo which evokes sympathy for the missing teens.

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The report explained:

At first sight, it appears to be just an isolated, lonely bus shelter.

But the yellow ribbons and defiant messages bedecking it eloquently attested to how it has become a symbol of Israel’s anguish over three missing teenagers.

“We will bring you back” and “The people of Israel are alive” read Hebrew messages on large posters beside smaller leaflets bearing the English inscription “# bring our boys homes”

The report also included a photo of the three teens.

Financial Times

On June 15th the Financial Times published a report by John Reed, titled ‘Netanyahu accuses Hamas over kidnapping of Israeli teenagers‘, which opened with this curious passage:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, on Sunday blamed the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, raising the stakes in a missing-person case that has transfixed the country and its leaders.

Though Reed’s obfuscatory language isn’t quite as egregious as the New York Times recent conflation of cause and effect, as revealed by CAMERA’s Tamar Sternthal, it is still troubling that the passage nonetheless suggests that the prime minister ‘raised the stakes’ in the kidnapping (what’s characterized as a “missing person case”) when he blamed Hamas for the abduction.  

Reed also makes a gratuitous reference to “radical Jewish settlers” in Hebron, who he claims represent the cause of “tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”, without noting the extremely destabilizing presence of a large number of Hamas terrorists in the city.

Summary:

  • The Guardian has published the greatest number of stories on the kidnapping to date, filing seven out of the nineteen total reports covered in this review.
  • With the exception of two reports in the Telegraph, and one in the Independent, every photo used to illustrate the teens’ abduction by terrorists focused on the Israeli military response to the incident, rather than on the boys, their families or reactions by the Israeli public.  In contrast, as we’ve noted in previous posts, the UK media almost uniformly focused on the families of Palestinian terrorists released over the past year by Israeli authorities, rather than on the families of the Israeli victims.
  • With the exception of Robert Tait’s story on June 16th and a report the same day by Peter Beaumont in the Guardian, no other UK media outlet quoted a family member of one of the teenage victims.  Alternately, several reports quoted Palestinians in the West Bank condemning the IDF’s military response to the terrorist abduction.
  • Only one report, in the Indy, provided context on the high number of thwarted kidnapping attempts by Palestinian terror groups over the last year.  However, the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont did cite three specific examples of previous kidnappings – one in 2001, one in 2011 and another in 2013. 
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This caricature depicting three rats caught on a fishing line was posted on the official Facebook page of Fatah (Mahmoud Abbas’s party) shortly after the kidnapping was reported

Worst prediction about Israeli presidential vote goes to Times of London

For those political animals among us, closely following yesterday’s Israeli Presidential election in the Knesset (the vote and subsequent run-off) on Twitter and sites live-blogging the tally was the political equivalent of a nail-biting overtime back and forth during the NBA Finals. (Brits may contemplate a more appropriate soccer football reference.) 

Though the post is largely ceremonial, as Shimon Peres demonstrated, the president can serve as an important quasi-ambassador for Israeli democracy, and can leverage the office to enhance the state’s image abroad and advocate on behalf of issues beyond the interests of the prime minister.   

Going into the election, it was clear – based on polls – that MK Reuven (Ruby) Rivlin was in the lead – and indeed eventually won the contest.  Further, while the horse-race for second – the candidate to face Rivlin in the eventual run-off – was bit less clear (Dalia Dorner, Meir Sheetrit, and Dalia Itzik were all mentioned), there was one contender, Dr. Dan Shechtman, whose candidacy was universally dismissed – often as quixotic – as he had no public supporters going into the race.

Yet, here’s what Times (of London) Middle East correspondent Catherine Philp wrote in her pre-election analysis published on June 10 (pay wall):

Mr Rivlin’s closest contenders are the Nobel chemistry laureate Dan Shechtman and a former supreme court judge, Dalia Dorner. 

When the votes in the first round were tallied at a little before 1 pm Israeli time, Rivlin was on top with 44 votes, Meir Sheetrit came in second with 31, Dalia Itzik had 28, Dalia Dorner received 13 and Dan Shechtman trailed the pack with just one.

Anyone can of course make a mistake. However, as we’ve demonstrated in previous posts about her coverage of the region, Philps’ wildly inaccurate election prediction isn’t a one-off when it comes to misreading the politics of the region.

Though the Times – editorially speaking – is among the more sensible media voices in a UK, their correspondent in Jerusalem at times doesn’t seem up to the job of providing accurate, nuanced and objective analyses of Israel and the Palestinian territories.

 

The Guardian jumps the shark – compares nuns to suicide bombers

Here are the opening passages from a Guardian article by Giles Fraser published on June 6th.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, is apparently at war with Theresa May, the home secretary, over religious extremism. Gove thinks that May deals only with its consequences – ie, violence – and not with its root cause. For Gove, the May approach is some endless and fruitless game of whack-a-mole, just dealing with the consequences of religious extremism and not its ideological origins. He wants to drain the swamp and tackle the celebration of extremism long before it issues in violence. His target is Birmingham schools. But why not the Royal Opera House?

Opera, like religion, is obsessed with violence, often against women. Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites – currently on a short run and broadcast live from the Royal Opera House tonight on Radio 3 – tells the story of a group of nuns during the French Revolution. Their convent is overrun by revolutionaries and desecrated. And the nuns are forced to choose between martyrdom and faith. By the end, all 16 sisters have been guillotined, defiantly singing the Salve Regina on their way to having their heads removed. The whole thing is beautifully presented, with minimal staging and extraordinary musical sensitivity. And the fact that Simon Rattle is wielding the baton will guarantee to pack in the genteel, well-heeled audience.

Keep the self-sacrificing nuns clearly in mind when you read the continuation of Fraser’s tale:

But I wonder if they would have turned up to an opera about Islamic martyrdom? Or been so enthusiastic in their applause if 16 shahida had chosen a violent death over conformity to their new and unsympathetic political/social norm? I bet there would have been walkouts. And I very much doubt that Rolex would have been a sponsor. 

Fraser adds:

Yet nobody complained that Christian martyrdom propaganda was being staged at one of our elite cultural institutions.

And, he then asks:

But isn’t this also a version of Gove’s religious extremism, too?

No, it is not!  

The nuns in the story are willing to sacrifice their own lives rather than defy the principles of their religious faith, while the Islamic shahida (suicide bombers) chose to take their own lives during the course of murdering as many innocent men, women and children as possible – in the name of their religious faith.

While you may want to read the rest of his meditation on martyrdom – as it includes another gem of moral equivalence – we’d like to know if it’s even possible that such a profoundly obvious moral distinction (between nuns and suicide bombers) can really elude the reasoning of those Guardian readers who share Fraser’s ideological persuasion.

Sometimes it feels as if the Guardian’s sole purpose is to sow moral confusion, and make the sensible majority doubt their own political sobriety. Indeed, we can think of no other explanation for their consistent pattern of running interference for the most reprehensible ideologies in the world by blurring the line between victim and victimizer – thus undermining the West’s natural instinct to resist the onslaught of homicidal and decidedly reactionary extremists.

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