The following video was produced by blogger Elder of Ziyon.
The following video was produced by blogger Elder of Ziyon.
We recently posted about an op-ed by Mira Bar-Hillel (a Jewish commentator who has acknowledged being antisemitic) which erroneously suggested that the Israeli media demanded the IDF bomb Gaza “back to the Stone Age” (see here), and accused Israelis of believing that “Palestinians aren’t quite human”.
As we pointed out, she also made a patently false claim concerning the 2012 Gaza War.
Here’s the relevant passage:
Over the past decade we have had “Operation Cast Lead” (2008/9) in which illegal white phosphorus was employed, 1,400 Gazan civilians were killed including one family whose children bled to death on the roof because Israeli aircraft prevented their evacuation. The Israelis lost 11 soldiers. In “Operation Pillar of Smoke”, (2012) hundreds more died, all Palestinian.
Of course, her claim that ALL of those who died during the war (Operation Pillar of Defense) were Palestinian is not true. Four Israeli civilians and two soldiers were killed in that war.
After contacting Indy editors, they agreed to revise the passage accordingly.
It now reads:
Over the past decade we have had “Operation Cast Lead” (2008/9) in which illegal white phosphorus was employed, 1,400 Gazan civilians were killed including one family whose children bled to death on the roof because Israeli aircraft prevented their evacuation. The Israelis lost 11 soldiers. In “Operation Pillar of Smoke”, (2012) hundreds more Palestinians died.
We commend Indy editors for promptly correcting Bar-Hillel’s false claim.
The Independent recently covered the evidently serious controversy surrounding the following Tweet by comedian Bill Maher.
Dealing w/ Hamas is like dealing w/ a crazy woman who’s trying to kill u – u can only hold her wrists so long before you have to slap her
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) July 18, 2014
The Indy, in an article published today (July 18th), had a clear critical editorial stance towards the Tweet:
Bill Mayer has sparked a bitter backlash online for appearing to condone Israeli aggression in Gaza and domestic violence in one, foul Twitter swoop.
“You can only hold her wrists for so long before you have to slap her,” he wrote.
The caustic American comedian, who is himself of Jewish heritage, compared Palestinian Sunni Islamic organisation Hamas to a “crazy woman trying to kill you”.
His controversial “joke” comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the IDF had launched a directive for “ground action” against Gaza.
Palestinian health officials say that 233 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air and naval strikes during 10 days of conflict. Meanwhile, one Israeli civilian has been killed by fire from Gaza.
His comments were heavily criticised, not just for appearing to suggest a pro-Israel stance, but also for appearing to be insensitive to victims of domestic violence:
Note that readers are informed that Maher is Jewish, despite the fact that he’s only half-Jewish, and is a well-known agnostic and fierce critic of religion – a gratuitous reference which may be inconsistent with the section of the Editor Code which warns against providing details of an individual’s religion unless relevant to the story.
However, for some reason, editors at the Indy covered the story of a British comedian named Alexis Sayle – who gave an interview where he likened Israel to a child rapist and a psychopath – in a context which appeared to at least legitimize his comparison:
First, here’s the video:
The July 15th Indy story begins:
Comedian and pro-Palestinian activist Alexei Sayle has fiercely condemned Israel’s air strikes in the Gaza Strip, by comparing the nation’s behaviour to that of prolific sex offender Jimmy Savile.
His comments were released after Israel resumed airstrikes in the Gaza Strip – killing one Palestinian civilian – after Hamas rejected a ceasefire plan and continued rocket attacks. 166 people in Gaza have died in the week-long offensive, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
“Israel is the Jimmy Saville of nation states,” Sayle said on Tuesday during an interview with advocacy group Caabu.
“It clearly doesn’t care about damaging the lives of children,” he added, referring to the late entertainer.
Sayle also described Israel as a “teenager that’s never been given any boundaries.”
“[Israel] is endlessly indulged by its doting parents, the West, and has become a psychopath as a result.
“It thinks that everybody else is in the wrong and it is in the right,” he said.
Note that while Maher’s Tweet was criticized for “taking a pro-Israel stance” (and offending women, which, by itself, is a reasonable conclusion), there’s not a word in the Sayle story suggesting that his comparison between Israel and a child molester just may be a bit offensive, either to Israelis or victims of child abuse.
Of course, the big difference between Maher and Sayle is that the former was taking aim at an Islamist group which openly incites its followers to kill Jews, while Sayle was going after the state being targeted by these antisemitic extremists.
The moral confusion amongst segments of the British Left is at times astounding.
As we noted earlier in the week, the Independent doesn’t have a correspondent in the region, but has a stable of Israel ‘critics’ ready on a moment’s notice to launch polemical assaults on the Jewish State. Last week, they published one op-ed (by Mira Bar-Hillel) which evoked Nazi Germany in vilifying Israeli military actions in Gaza, and another one (by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown) which all but accused Israel of engaging in a plan to exterminate the Palestinians.
This week, Mira Bar-Hillel (a British Jew who has admitted to being antisemitic) returns in a July 17th op-ed erroneously suggesting that the Israeli media has demanded the IDF bomb Gaza “back to the Stone Age” (see here), and accusing the country of believing that “Palestinians aren’t quite human”. (She also falsely claimed that no Israelis were killed during previous Gaza war in 2012.)
It [the war] also allows them to break up the unity between Hamas and Fatah. But most importantly it allows them to continue the strangulation and the genocide of the Palestinian people of Gaza in front of an international audience.
Of all the hateful, perverse smears against Israel leveled by the hard-left against Israel, the genocide charge is by far the most ludicrous, and the most pernicious.
As we’ve argued previously, debating the “question” of whether Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians seems at first glance to be as productive as ‘arguing’ whether or not Jews are trying to take over the world. However, unlike the latter charge, which, no matter how bigoted and irrational, is not really quantifiable, the former malicious smear – reflecting the “Israel as the new Nazis“ narrative – can be easily refuted by a few population statistics.
Additionally, to add further context:
As a point of reference, the Jewish population of Gaza and Palestinian controlled West Bank is practically zero (save a few pro-Palestinian “journalists” who reside there), while the Jewish population in the entire Arab Middle East has decreased from over 850,000 in 1949 to less than 5,000 today. (Yet, relatedly, despite the almost complete disappearance of Jewish inhabitants in territories they control, some Palestinian and Arab leaders often incite their citizens to engage in the mass murder of Jews in Israel, and even in the diaspora.)
The broad charge that Jews are ethnically cleansing Arabs (Palestinians or otherwise) in the Middle East, based on the numbers, represents the opposite of the truth. The only group which has actually been ethnically cleansed in the Middle East since the end of World War 2 has been Jews. (Though, it should be noted that Christians are also in danger of extinction.)
The Independent – which risibly claims to be guided by “enlightened” values and once even strongly denied that it demonizes Israel – should be ashamed of itself for peddling such lies.
Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle:
On Monday night, Israel formally accepted the Egyptian proposed ceasefire calling for an end to “all hostilities” between Hamas and Israel from the following morning.
Though the IDF halted its military operations, Hamas rejected calls to stop attacks and fired dozens of rockets at Israeli cities during the declared truce. After six hours of continued attacks, Israel announced it would resume its military operation and began attacking Hamas targets.
Despite this straightforward series of events, some media outlets found a way to obscure Hamas’s culpability, with the Guardian leading the pack. Even when the paper acknowledged that Hamas was still firing rockets, they somehow concluded that the “ceasefire was holding” and later managed to blame Israel’s eventual retaliation for causing it to collapse.
After the paper was criticised on Twitter, Guardian deputy editor Phoebe Greenwood defended the coverage, arguing in one Tweet that since Hamas never agreed to the ceasefire, their rocket attacks did not represent a violation of its terms.
The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont was interviewed by Anshel Pfeffer of Ha’aretz about the tragic killing of four Palestinian children on the Gaza Beach yesterday.
(Though the IDF is still investigating the incident, it appears as if one of the missiles which hit the beach was fired on a Hamas target, while the second one was mistakenly fired on what was believed to be a group of Hamas members fleeing the scene, but were actually Palestinian children.)
The beach harbor is a civilian area with a hotel nearby (The Al-Deira) where many foreign journalists (including Beaumont) have been staying during the war. Washington Post reporter William Booth’s report about the incident noted that “it is not unusual for militants to launch rockets from sites” near the hotel.
More recently, in a Guardian article published today, July 17th, Beaumont himself even noted that the shipping container on the beach which was hit by the IDF in the attack which caused the boys’ deaths had been used by Hamas:
A witness who identified himself only as Abu Ahmed said the boys had been scavenging for scrap metal when the first shell hit a nearby shipping container used in the past by Hamas security forces.
This passage is actually quite unique, as it represents the first time Beaumont has acknowledged (though only implicitly) this widely reported tactic (acknowledged by Hams leaders themselves) of using civilians as human shields. This tactic involves Hamas purposely placing combatants and military facilities used to stage attacks on Israel in areas populated by civilians (such as mosques, schools, hospitals, etc.) and telling Palestinians to “remain in their houses if they are about to be bombed” when warned by the IDF in advance of an attack.
In 20 reports (and over 18,886 words) filed by Beaumont since the start of hostilities on July 8th (see links at the end of this post), most of which highlighted (often in heartbreaking detail) civilian casualties in Gaza, he has never contextualized his accounts of Palestinian deaths by informing readers about Hamas’s cynical use of this illegal tactic.
He not only hasn’t filed a report on the use of human shields (a war crime under international law), but there are actually only four references to the term (in any context) in his 20 reports, two passages which simply quote Israeli officials who “claim” that Hamas uses this tactic, and two additional references which blandly characterize the independent actions of Palestinian activists.
Israel has said it is acting in self-defence against rockets that have disrupted life across much of the country. It also accuses Hamas of using Gaza’s civilians as human shields.
In two other articles, Beaumont used the term to dryly describe the actions of Palestinians, without even suggesting that this tactic is used and actively encouraged by Hamas.
Early on Wednesday morning, Israel dropped leaflets and delivered warnings by phone and text that tens of thousands of residents of two Gaza City neighbourhoods, Zeitoun in the south and Shujai’iya in the east, should evacuate their homes before planned strikes and head to the city centre. Among those ordered to leave were the patients of a rehabilitation hospital. But the hospital’s director, Basman Ashi, said everyone would remain and that foreign volunteers had arrived to serve as human shields.
In the most serious single incident, seven Palestinians including two children were killed and about 25 wounded in an attack on a house in the Khan Younis area in south Gaza. Residents said the house belonged to the family of a Hamas member and the casualties occurred when the property came under attack for the second time. After the first strike people had gathered on the roof of the house as “human shields“, hoping their presence would deter a second strike, the residents said. The Israeli military made no immediate comment about the incident.
In one article, Beaumont actually seems to dismiss the Israeli ‘claim’ that Hamas uses human shields:
For its part Israel has long alleged that the militants “hide” among the civilian population, but what is clear is that targets have included homes and public streets as well as missile sites and buildings associated with Hamas.
As Jeffrey Goldberg argued early in the war:
Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.
This propaganda strategy, however, is dependent on Western media groups playing along, not only by highlighting every tragic Palestinian civilian death, but by also pretending that such casualties are not in fact the result of Hamas’s cynical strategy of using human shields and other tactics meant to maximize the number of casualties.
Among the most active participants in Hamas’s scheme to fool the West is Peter Beaumont.
Links to all of Beaumont’s articles referenced in this post:
During the last war in Gaza two years ago, Guardian associate editor Seumas Milne defended the Palestinian ‘right’ of armed resistance, while arguing that Israel, as the ‘occupying power’, had no such right to defend itself against Hamas (It’s Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves, Nov. 20, 2012).
“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.
Now, here is the relevant passage from Milne’s latest op-ed, published today (Gaza: this shameful injustice will only end if the cost of it rises, July 16th) at the Guardian:
So the Palestinians of Gaza are an occupied people, like those in the West Bank, who have the right to resist, by force if they choose – though not deliberately to target civilians. But Israel does not have a right of self-defence over territories it illegally occupies – it has an obligation to withdraw.
The only difference between the passages in the two op-eds relates to Milne’s expanded right of resistance. Note that in 2012 it was only Gazans who had the right to engage in acts of terrorism, while in 2014 both Gazans and West Bank Palestinians enjoy the inalienable ‘right’ to kill Israelis.
However, Milne is consistent in both op-eds with regard to one thing: Israel has no right to defend itself from Hamas terror.
While Milne’s justification for the intentional killing of Israelis is not surprising given his history of praising anti-imperialist “resistance movements” across the globe, the mere fact that his latest polemic is consistent with his broader political orientation certainly doesn’t make it any less morally repulsive.
We recently commented on a political cartoon in the Guardian highlighting the perceived asymmetrical nature of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and another cartoon decrying what was perceived to be the greater value placed on Israeli lives over that of Palestinians. We also posted about a cartoon in the Independent which suggested that Israeli reaction to Hamas rocket attacks was not only ‘disproportional‘ but arguably inconsistent with Jewish values.
However, a cartoon by Martyn Turner at the Irish Times goes a step further, imputing to Israel a blind malevolence in slaughtering helpless Palestinians.
Though the evocation of the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ meme is the most obvious element of the narrative, even more telling is the more focused depiction of the Israeli soldier’s deranged war lust (note the soldier’s face) in contrast with the helpless Palestinians (fish and other small creatures). The latter can be seen in the drop of water spit by the fish, representing it seems the benign, harmless nature of Hamas attacks.
Israel, according Turner, isn’t merely the aggressor in the war (note the ceasefire agreement in the soldier’s hand which he presumably has ignored), but is represented as bloodthirsty, vengeful, and merciless.
Within the far-left ideological territory claimed by Turner (as well as other Irish Times contributors), Israel is often presented using the familiar motif of a mindless, destructive Goliath, while the extreme racism of the Palestinian Islamist movement ruling Gaza – one which openly aspires to murder Jews - is whitewashed, and its ‘fighters’ robbed of any semblance of moral agency.
If you’ve been following our recent posts, you’re aware that the Guardian live blog on the Gaza War posted two entries a few hours ago that somehow managed to blame Israel for breaking the ceasefire which took effect this morning.
They made this claim despite the fact the dozens of rockets were fired at Israeli cities by Hamas since the time of the ceasefire, while Israel (who had accepted the ceasefire) held its fire for six hours until finally retaliating after it was clear that the Islamist group had no intention of standing down. (As we noted, US Secretary of State John Kerry forcefully condemned Hamas earlier in the day for violating the terms of the agreement.)
Well, a Guardian deputy editor named Phoebe Greenwood doubled down on the Guardian claim a few hours ago, and the rhetorical somersault she employed to defend the indefensible was truly something to behold.
Here it is, along with a response (above Greenwood’s Tweet) by Yiftah Curiel, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London:
As one commentator suggested, Greenwood’s argument goes something like this.
This is of course the time when we typically employ a rhetorical flourish, encapsulating the substance of the post in a few pithy lines.
However, on this occasion, given the jaw-dropping nature of the logic used by Greenwood, we find ourselves for once truly speechless.
As we noted about 30 minutes ago, the Guardian’s Live Blog pronounced that the ceasefire (which went into effect at 9:00 this morning) was ‘holding’ despite the dozens of rockets fired by Hamas since the morning, and the fact that world leaders, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, had forcefully condemned Hamas for violating the terms of the agreement.
However, roughly 20 minutes ago it was reported that the IDF had resumed military operations (after having ceased all attacks since 9AM in accordance with the agreement) in response to Hamas rocket fire, which prompted the following Guardian update:
Here’s how the update is framed on their Israel page:
It’s also the featured story on the blog itself, per the recently updated headline:
This is simply surreal.
Dozens of Hamas rocket attacks evidently don’t count as a ceasefire violation according to the Guardian’s blog editor Matthew Weaver, but Israeli retaliation – six hours into the Hamas assault – constitutes an official end to the agreement.
This isn’t just an obfuscation, but a complete and total fabrication.
Since the official ceasefire was announced at 9:00 this morning, dozens of rockets have been fired at Israel from Gaza, representing a clear violation by Hamas. Tzeva Adom (Red Alert) sirens (warning of incoming rocket fire) have been activated throughout the morning and early afternoon in Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Rehovot, Rishon LeZion, Hadera, Haifa and elsewhere.
The rocket fire elicited the following response from US Secretary of State John Kerry:
I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports,
Yet, in a Guardian Live Blog entry posted about 2 hours ago, the blog’s editor Matthew Weaver declared the following:
The ceasefire is holding for now despite the launch of seven missiles from Gaza, Peter Beaumont reports from Beit Lahia.
In addition to the fact that Weaver significantly under-counted the number of rockets fired at Israel since the morning, do we really even need to note that the launch of even “seven missiles” from Gaza of course means that the ceasefire is NOT in fact holding?
Like any live blog on a serious news site, the Guardian’s running blog of the Gaza War is, presumably, supposed to post significant events and snippets of relevant commentary relating to the conflict. Yet the blog’s editor, Matthew Weaver, somehow thought the following odious smear (posted about 30 minutes ago) by Alexi Sayle (Author, comedian, and Palestine Solidarity Campaign Patron) was newsworthy and relevant to the debate about the conflict.
Jimmy Savile is the late BBC broadcaster who, an investigation determined, was a predatory sex offender who assaulted hundreds of children over the course of decades.
During the course of the interview (below) he also likens Israel to a psychopath.
In the past, we’ve wondered – when responding to Guardian decisions to legitimize (and sometimes endorse) the most reprehensible charges against Israel – how much lower they could possibly go. Though this was of course a rhetorical question, their editors’ decision today to post such a vicious smear demonstrates that their institutional hostility towards the Jewish State includes few if any moral boundaries.
Here’s a Tweet from earlier today by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont:
The hasbara goons are restless and angry today
— peter beaumont (@petersbeaumont) July 15, 2014
Though we’re not sure what his Tweet was specifically referring to, the word ‘hasbara’ (a Hebrew word which merely means ‘explaining’) is often used by anti-Israel activists to characterize, in a pejorative manner, those who defend Israel online.
Tellingly, if you Google the term “Hasbara Goons”, the first two results show posts from the hate site, Mondoweiss.
Interestingly, Beaumont received some flack from his swipe at pro-Israel activists, in the following replies:
Beaumont perhaps should refer to the Guardian’s Social Media Guidelines for Journalists:
The Guardian has created a set of guidelines for staff on the use of blogging, tweeting and the use of social media in order to maintain editorial standards and help create effective communities on the web.
staff are asked to remember the former editor CP Scott’s famous dictum that “comment is free, but facts are sacred” by not blurring facts and opinions, and to exemplify the Guardian’s community standards in contributions.
The community standards, which Guardian journalists are asked to exemplify, include 10 guidelines, and summarizes their suggestions as follows:
- If you act with maturity and consideration for other users, you should have no problems.
- Don’t be unpleasant. Demonstrate and share the intelligence, wisdom and humour we know you possess.
- Take some responsibility for the quality of the conversations in which you’re participating. Help make this an intelligent place for discussion and it will be.
In addition to being shrill and unprofessional, it seems clear that Beaumont’s Tweet was thoroughly inconsistent with his own company’s community standards.
According to the Jewish News, Jones Tweeted the accusations during an exchange with Jewish News editor Justin Cohen. Jones subsequently deleted the Tweet as you can see by his timeline (and per a site which keeps track of deleted Tweets by MPs) and apologized to Cohen. According to Breitbart London, additional Tweets by Jones – which he also deleted – directly accused Cohen, who is Jewish, of ‘killing children’, despite the fact that he is not Israeli.
Beyond Jones’ vicious smear of Israel, “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” (per Jones’ Tweet to the Jewish journalist) is defined as antisemitic according to the EUMC Working Definition.
The Independent doesn’t have a Jerusalem correspondent at the moment. So, during the war, they’ve been mainly relying on stringers and wire service reports. However, their lack of on-the-ground coverage hasn’t stopped them from using the ‘expert’ analysis of a few of their op-ed contributors:
Here are a few examples:
As noted on these pages yesterday, the Indy’s Adam Withnall seemed to characterize a few dozen Sderot residents – a community which been on the receiving end of thousands of Gaza rockets since 2001 – applauding attacks on Hamas military targets as an act of almost unparalleled human cruelty. Withnall cited one Twitter user who opined about the ‘spectacle’, that “If this is true then God help us all”, before asking, “What’s become of the human race?”
A July 13th op-ed on the war by their “award-winning” Middle East correspondent titled (Why doesn’t the media ever mention the lack of progress in the Middle East?) blamed the Western media for being too soft on Israeli “blood-letting”, by failing to inform news consumers that they state has been “engaged in “pitiless, infinitely more wicked and obscene war”.
Hillel, the British reporter who (though Jewish herself) has acknowledged being antisemitic, published an op-ed on July 11th (Why I’m on the brink of burning my Israeli passport), which likened alleged Facebook comments (the veracity of which is in doubt) by Israeli MK Ayelet Shaked to crimes committed by the Nazis:
She [MK Shaked] made me think about my mother’s sister Klara and her three small children who were living in Krakow in 1939 when the Germans invaded. They decided that the Jews – all Jews – were the enemy and had to be eliminated, not least the women and the little snakes they were raising. “Why? Ask them – they started it”, as the Nazis would say if asked
Later, Hillel referred to a few random hateful Tweets by Israeli teens as “angelic faces of evil spouting such genocidal rhetoric”, before ending with a rhetorical flourish worthy of a character in Howard Jacobson’s book The Finkler Question:
I pick up my Israeli passport and a box of matches. “Not in my name, people. Not in my name!”
Alibhai-Brown’s July 13th op-ed (Israel’s reaction has been vicious and misdirected) characterized the “mindset of hardline Zionists” thusly:
It is a combination of paranoia, indiscriminate loyalty and odium towards any person or group opposed to Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians.
Alibhai-Brown then seemed to compare Jihadists attacks with the actions of the Jewish State, and vilifies ‘British Zionists’ for not speaking out:
When Jihadis commit atrocities, British Muslims are collectively blamed, told to protest, to issue statements from mosques, to say sorry, to stop the Islamicists. Israel builds walls, grabs land, introduces racist rules, imprisons Palestinian children, uses grotesque force and gets undeclared donations from British Zionists, and British Jews are not asked to march, or issue condemnations or promises.
Alibhai-Brown’s diatribe then devolves further, accusing Israel of engaging in a plan of genocide:
The Holocaust – one of the most obscene, inhumane pogroms in world history – is now used as a guarantee of perpetual indemnity by a state which was to be a sanctuary and an exemplar of survival, dignity and morality. Israel’s leadership has discarded moral sense and wants to eliminate Palestinians altogether from the pitifully small bits of land they live in. They have learnt the wrong lessons from their own history and seem to be modelling themselves on Europeans who took over Australia, North and South America.
In contextualizing the UK media each day during the war, we can honestly say at this point that recent Indy’s attacks surpass even the Guardian in the level of malice and vitriol directed towards Israel and its ‘Zionist’ supporters.
Finally, you may recall that last October the Indy published a spirited editorial refuting accusations that the paper was institutionally antisemitic, claiming that the charges were “false”, “myopic” and “willfully ignorant” – words which actually quite aptly characterize the hateful agitprop directed against the Jewish State by Fisk, Bar-Hillel and Alibhai-Brown over the last few days.