Bizarre claim in the Guardian: ‘Red roofs are mandatory in Israeli settlements’

What can ‘forensic architecture’ reveal about the conflict in Gaza?‘, Guardian, Sept 1, focuses on the Haifa-born, London educated architect Eyal Weizman, evidently famous in some circles as the “chief proponent of “forensic architecture”, which analyzes the “impacts of urban warfare” for clues about the crimes perpetrated there.

When he looks out across the landscape of the occupied Palestinian West Bank, as he does in the film The Architecture of Violence, to be aired on Al Jazeera today, [Eyal Weizman] sees a battlefield. “The weapons and ammunitions are very simple elements: they are trees, they are terraces, they are houses. They are barriers.”

In the kitchen of his east London home…he says the most obvious and contentious aspect of what he calls the “architecture of occupation” is the system of Israeli settlements. Perched on West Bank hilltops, they are strategically positioned, according to Weizman, so that they look out over the Palestinian valleys and towns below, in order “to dominate”.

Then, the kicker:

Each of the uniformly suburban-looking houses – all with mandatory red roofs so that on flyovers the Israeli army know[s] not to target them – is “itself like an optical instrument,” he tells me.

As bizarre as this claim is, amazingly it has been advanced previously.  Just a few months ago, the Chairman of Norwegian People’s Aid, Finn Erik, said pretty much the same thing at a lecture in Norway.  But, as popular blogger Elder of Ziyon demonstrated, there are multiple reasons why this claim doesn’t withstand even the slightest scrutiny.  

  • Most Palestinians in Judea and Samaria live in areas A and B under control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The PA has full responsibility for zoning and import of building materials, including the type of roof tiles that can be used. There are no Palestinian regulations that prohibit the use of red roof tiles.
  • Israel has no laws or regulations that prohibit the use of red roof tiles in Area C which is under Israeli control. This means that both Arabs and Jews who build in this area can use red roof tiles in their houses, if they want to. 
  • The Israeli air force uses precision weapons that can hit its target with great accuracy both day and night, and is completely independent of the color of the house or on the roof tiles.
  • Most Palestinian houses do not have red roof tiles is that they do not tile their roofs at all. The traditional Arab architecture in the area includes a solarium that can be used for different purposes.
  • A number of houses built in recent years in Arab settlements in Israel, Judea and Samaria, have red tiles.
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Photo from Elder of Ziyon

Additionally, Elder noted that Israeli aircraft does not bomb houses in Judea and Samaria. And, indeed, as far as we can tell there hasn’t been an air strike anywhere in the West Bank, for any reason, since the height of the 2nd Intifada.

Finally, an article by architecture critic Ran Shechori  published provides a bit of history on red-tiled roofs in Israel:

Since there were no local skilled builders at the beginning of the 19th century the English had even been forced to import stonecutters from Malta no antagonism was felt towards the foreign styles that sprouted on the local landscape. Consciously or not, that century witnessed the belated victory of the Crusaders, with the creation of a Christian presence in the Holy Land, which took over the educational and welfare system and began the Europeanization of this part of the world.

The local population began to copy the European styles of building. Wealthy Arab families who had left the Old City began building villas and mansions in the European style, albeit heavily decorated with traditional Moslem embellishments. The cities that were then growing adopted European terraced housing and the sloping red-tiled roofs.

The Jews, who had lived till then in homes rented from Arabs, also began to establish their own independent neighbourhoods. Mishkenot Shaananim (lit. “tranquil dwellings”) was the first such area in Jerusalem. It was built with the help of the British philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore, in 1860, as a series of long buildings topped by sloping, red-tiled roofs

Red-tiled roofs, which came to symbolize the Jewish presence and represented the idealized “home”;

Just as in the beginning, the Israeli still sees the red roof as a status symbol.

As Matti Friedman explained in his masterful essay at Tablet Magazine, one of the iron-clad rules of media coverage of the region requires that “every flaw in Israeli society is aggressively reported”, to which he should have added: even those ‘flaws‘ which are merely a figment of the increasingly wild anti-Zionist imagination.  

Dishonourable Brits: Why the Guardian can’t distinguish between Semites & anti-Semites

If a radical right-wing U.S. group possessed an ideology which was homophobic, misogynistic, and anti-democratic, and continually attempted to murder a historically oppressed minority to clean the region of their ‘pernicious influence’ – due to their fundamentalist interpretation of a religious text – anti-racist commentators at the Guardian would stand proudly on the side of the besieged minority and rightfully demonize the racist extremist group.

Transplant this scenario to the Mid-East (and replace the white sheets with black face masks and green headbands) however, and such moral clarity – which distinguishes between a racist extremist group and the minorities they’re targeting – often gets blurred.

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In a review of BBC2’s The Honourable Woman, the Guardian’s diplomatic correspondent Julian Borger (Can The Honourable Woman teach us anything about the Gaza conflict?, Aug. 20) presents another example of media group’s profound moral confusion when interpreting conflicts between Israel and Islamist extremists.

Borger characterizes the show as “a tale of intrigue, betrayal and silk blouses set against the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”, and then adds: “Whether we will have learned anything about Gaza or the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is another matter”.

Border then writes:

So the ruthless and omnipotent assassin, a regular plot device of political thrillers, is in this case a Palestinian militant. Just like the show’s American inspiration, Homelandit revives the spectre of the Arab bogeyman as the evil genius among us, ghosting across borders on false passports. 

This is understandably vexing for Palestinians. After all, it is Mossad that has won itself the reputation in recent years for sending assassins to kill abroad on forged identity papers. Hamas and Islamic Jihad have largely fought their battles on home turf with much blunter methods.

Likewise, the agony of liberal British Jews looking on in horror at the bloodletting in Israel and the Palestinian territories is true to life. What feels like a sentimental anachronism is the central premise in the plot: that they can do anything to change it. It is hard to imagine in these dark times that it would be so easy for a well-meaning Jewish philanthropist to breeze through the West Bank and for her saccharine, slightly condescending speeches to be received so admiringly by Palestinian students. Hard to imagine, too, that Nessa Stein would have such an easy time of it in Netanyahu’s Israel. These days, there would be rightwing mobs outside her doveish events, chanting: “Death to the Arabs.”

Leaving aside Borger’s risible suggestion that Palestinian jihadist groups have shown more restraint than Israel when carrying out attacks on their enemies, the Guardian editor’s review is notable in which political actor in the Middle East is identified as the racist (Jewish mobs chanting “death to Arabs”) and which one is the unfairly stereotyped minority (the “Arab bogeyman”).

It’s important to read such passages in the context of the Guardian overall coverage of both the current war between Hamas and Israel, and the broader Israeli-Islamist Conflict.

Though Guardian correspondents sometimes note that Hamas is ‘considered’ a terrorist group by much of the West, their reporters, editors and commentators almost never explain to their readers that Hamas is an antisemitic extremist group - a reactionary racist, violent, fundamentalist movement at odds with the liberal, enlightenment values they claim to champion.

Whilst the Guardian never tires in highlighting racism (real or imagined) expressed by the most unrepresentative fringe elements in Israeli society, they almost uniformly avoid mentioning that the group currently ruling Gaza literally calls for the extermination of Jews.  It simply isn’t possible for UK news consumers to clearly understand the battles being waged in Israel and Gaza while ignorant of this fundamental fact about Hamas’s eliminationist antisemitism.

Reports about ceasefire negotiations between the two parties in Cairo which merely emphasize that Hamas demands a loosening of the Israeli blockade, while ignoring that their end goal continues to be the annihilation of the only Jewish state, are akin to media reports during WWII noting Germany’s territorial aspirations without any context regarding Hitler’s belief in Aryan racial supremacy and his wish to exterminate Jews and other ‘undesirables’.

On the other hand, it is heartening to see the support – among many Guardian contributors – for the West’s efforts to rein in an apocalyptic and genocidal Middle-East based, Sunni extremist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood with a global expansionist worldview, which targets civilians, ruthlessly murders its enemies, possesses a pathological hatred for Jews and advocates Sharia Law over universal human rights.

However, whilst we’re of course referring to ISIS (Islamic State), we also just accurately described the fundamental ideological orientation of Hamas.

So, what accounts for such a profound moral inconsistency? Why are Palestinian jihadists not like the other jihadists?   

Though antisemitism is one factor which partly explains this phenomenon (among some Guardian contributors and journalists), the more widespread political dynamics at play are moral relativism, an egregiously skewed understanding of anti-imperialism, a glorification of ‘Palestinian resistance’ and an obsession with Jews and Israel  - in short, the signature ideological ticks of the Guardian Left.

There is, however, one more factor. 

We are often asked if we believe the Guardian to be institutionally antisemitic.  While their obsessive and almost entirely negative coverage of the Jewish State fans the flame of antisemitism, this writer, for one, does not believe the media group is compromised institutionally by anti-Jewish racism.

It may be more accurate to observe in the Guardian worldview a capacity to forcefully condemn antisemitism in the abstract, but an inability to summon such righteous indignation when doing so would require parting company with other ‘historically oppressed’ groups, and indeed challenge their very ideological identity.

In their failure to condemn Hamas, and morally distinguish antisemitic extremists from the Jews they’re trying to kill, lies not a visceral antipathy towards Jews as such, but a tragic lack of courage to follow their convictions into uncomfortable political places – cowardliness which continues to bring dishonour to their once proud journalistic community. 

CiF Watch prompts revision to Economist claim about MK Zoabi’s suspension

Earlier in the month we posted about a curious omission in an Economist article titled ‘Us and Them‘, Aug. 2.  

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Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi

To buttress their broader theme on the putative ‘erosion of Israel’s democracy’, the characteristically anonymous article made the following claim about Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi:

This week the Knesset banned an Arab member, Haneen Zoabi, for six months for “aggressive behaviour” in anti-war demonstrations.

However, as we noted at the time, this is an inaccurate statement as it omits key information about the suspension.

MK Zoabi was suspended for six months from the Knesset (while still maintaining her voting rights in the Israeli legislative body) for two reasons – one of which the Economist completely omitted. 

While Zoabi’s suspension was in part due to an incident with a police officer at a protest rally (as they noted), the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Israeli teens (Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah, and Gilad Shaar) were NOT terrorists – a comment she evidently didn’t amend, even after the boys’ bullet ridden bodies were discovered partially buried near Hebron on June 30.

Shimon Peres

We complained to Economist editors, and, in addition to slightly revising the text to note that Zoabi’s behavior at the protest was only one of the reasons for her suspension, they added the following addendum.

corexThough the text still doesn’t include the main reason for Zoabi’s suspension, editors’ acknowledgement that the original language was misleading is of course welcomed. 

Independent’s demonization of Israel continues: Op-ed accuses state of genocide

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.)

Another July 17th op-ed by Yana Hawari actually endorsed Hamas’s refusal to agree to a ceasefire last week, and finished her diatribe with the following accusation:

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.

  • The Palestinian population in the West Bank increased from 462,000 in 1949 to more than 2.5 million today.
  • In Gaza, the population increased from 82,000 in 1949 to 1.7 million today.

Additionally, to add further context:

  • The number of Arabs killed (since 1920) in Arab-Israeli wars is far less than the number of Arabs killed by Arabs in Syria alone since 2011.

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.

Why Israel has been forced to go to war: An op-ed by Dr. Denis MacEoin

A guest post by Dr. Denis MacEoin

I want you to imagine this. An independent Scotland, fired up by new-found freedoms and ruled by President Robbie Burns II, bursts into ructions of tartan nationalism. An army of men wearing kilts and sporrans, playing horrendous squalling tunes on their war pipes, advances to the border, calling for the destruction of England and the murder or expulsion of everyone who lives on what, they say, is former Scottish soil. Specially trained militias roll up and start to fire rockets into Northumberland and Newcastle, where I live. As some years pass, the rockets get bigger and their range longer, until York and Leeds are threatened. Thousands of these rockets are fired, and even if they do little physical harm, they force the inhabitants of the English North to cower in bomb shelters, running to them when sirens announce a fifteen-second gap before the latest rockets fall. Add to this that Scottish fighters have been infiltrating England for years beyond number, detonating car bombs, slitting throats, and blowing themselves up in shopping malls, restaurants and town squares, using suicide belts to kill as many English men and women and children as possible. In one case, a Scottish woman, treated for severe burns in the burns unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, returns for out-patient treatment wearing an explosive belt designed to murder the doctors and nurses who improved her life and is only caught thanks to the vigilance of soldiers at a checkpoint built to prevent such incidents.

Now ask yourself, what would the government of the UK do? Send for the Archbishop of Canterbury to organize national prayer vigils? Wring their hands and hope the belligerent Scots soon see the error of their ways? Apologize to their sworn enemies and evacuate the country (except, perhaps, Celtic Wales), relocating in a distant desert or hell-pit, assuming anyone, fired by post-colonial outrage, would take them? Do a Jim Jones and deliver bottles of cyanide-laced Flavor Aid to every household, and apologize to Scotland for forcing its undertakers to remove and cremate the bodies?

You know the answer as well as I do. Now, think again. The Scots love us and will probably vote against devolution. We love them and their Tam O’Shanters and their Loch Ness Monster. For bagpipes we may prefer the sweet tones of Irish uilleann pipes or Northumbrian pipes. But we have had our last wars with the Scots, who mean us no harm.

For Scotland in the first paragraph, write Gaza. For Scots, write Palestinians. The rest is true. The rain of missiles since 2007, the endless terror attacks on civilians before the security barrier almost put an end to them. The incitement in the Hamas Charter of 1988 to kill all Jews, never to make peace, never to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, never even to sit down to hold peace talks (which are called ‘a waste of time’). Palestinians suffer, but that doesn’t matter to Hamas (or, indeed, Fatah, who issue similar threats), for whom martyrdom is the highest aspiration. In Gaza and the West Bank (now allied in a unity government), the murderers of children and families are celebrated as national heroes, worthy of emulation. Can the UN cure that sickness? Will the Arab and Muslim states even try? Will the left in Europe and America stop their attacks and vilifications of Israel and Jews? Left-wingers who, not long ago, marched in cities in Europe chanting ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas’.

The burned woman who sought to kill the men and women who had saved her life was Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a Palestinian from Gaza who was treated at Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Centre in early 2005 and who set out to return there bearing a medical licence, was captured at the Erez crossing by vigilant IDF soldiers, and imprisoned. She was released in 2011 as one of the prisoners freed to bring Gilad Shalit back to his family. On her release, she was welcomed home by a group of children. To them she said ‘I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs.’ I did not use the word ‘sickness’ above in a flippant or bigoted way. It is the only word I can choose to describe a society built on hatred, self-immolation and the destruction of the innermost fibre of little children.

And Jews will go to the gas the moment Hamas and its allies are victorious, and they will be victorious if Israel ever slackens in its vigilance and self-defence, and remains passive in its response to deadly rocket fire from a terrorist regime. Make no mistake about that. Stand in the shoes of those few who cried horror as they watched the Nazis come to power in Germany. By no means are all Palestinians Nazis, but Hamas and its allies are the nearest thing since 1945. Yet throughout the world’s media, Israel, one of the world’s finest democracies, a country that even as I write is performing heart operations on Palestinian children, is called the aggressor, its acts of self-defence pilloried as unbalanced and disproportionate. Of course, it’s unbalanced. If your enemy refuses to make peace and establish secure borders for both sides, if they do everything in their power to kill you and everyone you love, and destroy your cities, what choice would anyone have but to keep responding and responding yet again until they come to their senses, acknowledge international law, and make peace for their own sakes as much as for yours?

For two thousand years, Jews — I am not one — have been tortured, killed, expelled, and exterminated without respite. They have at last found, through the auspices of the League of Nations and the United Nations, and above all their own efforts through the Zionist movement, a haven, a place where they have the right to live in peace and security for once, and from which they can continue to make a most extraordinary contribution to the well-being of mankind. And Hamas pounds their haven with high explosives and threatens genocide while shouting to the world that they, not the Jews, are the victims in this drama even while they are nothing but the victims of their own mania and blood lust. This will attract comment, and that is well and good. But as a lifelong liberal, I will listen only to reasoned criticism, not accusations that Israel is a ‘Nazi’ state, an ‘apartheid’ state or any other of the patent nonsense that so many in the far left and Islamists throw out. Palestinian lives are important, which is why thousands of Palestinians are treated in Israeli hospitals every year. But Israeli lives, the lives of Israeli Jews and Arabs both, have equal value. Israel has never threatened or carried out genocide (another meaningless accusation). Today, it stands in the media dock, accused of crimes it has never committed. Hamas is handled with kid gloves. Woe to us if the Scots ever change their minds and launch phase one of their haggis-fuelled invasion.

 

Dr. Denis MacEoin is a former university lecturer in Arabic, Persian and Islamic Studies. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Gatestone Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

When anti-Semites at the Guardian fall out

A guest post by AKUS

One of the more ignorant claims advanced by the anti-Israeli crowd commenting at the Guardian, both above and below the line, is that the smaller number of Israeli casualties compared to Palestinian casualties represents Israeli belief that Palestinian lives are worth less – much less – than Arab lives.

The specious argument is used to complain that there is a lack of morality on the Israeli side, rather than admitting that Israel takes enormous care to protect its citizens of all religions and groups from terrorist and other armed attacks.

It is usually accompanied by two additional themes. One is the complaint that  “no-one ever mentions Palestinian casualties” when in fact there is no other group whose casualties are so carefully documented and republished over and over in media and by NGOs. The other is the accusation that despite the enormous increase in the Arab population since 1967, the lower number of Israeli casualties represents a policy of genocide directed at the Arabs on the West Bank and in Gaza.

To put it in a different context, would anyone argue that the lower losses of British lives in WW II compared to German lives (leaving aside the horrendous losses suffered by the Russians and the massacres of others across Europe and North Africa inflicted by the Germans) represented a loss of moral stature by the British? Should more British soldiers and civilians have died to even the balance and allowed us to feel that indeed the British respected human life as much as the Nazis?

We were treated to another of Steve Bell’s anti-Semitic cartoons this week, intended to illustrate this theme. The three murdered Israeli boys are shown, in the eyes of – well, who? The world? – to outweigh uncountable Palestinians killed in the conflict:

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As bad as this cartoon is, for all the reasons above, especially appearing in the Guardian which makes it its mission to emphasize every Palestinian death, it led to a complaint by Martin Rowson.  Rowson suggested that Bell had, in effect, plagiarized his “trope” from this even worse cartoon:

cartoon

As appalling as both cartoons are, there is a certain enjoyment to be had from seeing this falling out among two leading purveyors of antisemitic tropes.

What is horrifying, of course, is the support these two vicious characters get from their dedicated followers. This includes  the Guardian editorial staff, who allows them to post such agitprop, and their followers below the line – for example, here’s a comment below Steve Bell’s latest:

for example

And there we have it – the imbalance between Israeli deaths and Palestinian deaths is due to Israel’s presumably genocidal policies which are gradually wiping out the occupants of Gaza and the West Bank – even though their numbers, mysteriously, continue to grow at one of the highest rates in the world.

Or even the slightly more “sophisticated” argument that this represents a way for Israel to prevent reaching a peace agreement:

agreement

By continuing to publish these kinds of cartoons, and permitting these kinds of comment to stand, it is, in fact, the Guardian that does a monumental disservice to any idea of reaching a peace agreement, or, if they really want to, helping the Palestinians achieve their statehood.

But in the meantime, if nothing else, let’s hope the anti-Semites at the Guardian will continue to complain about each other.

UK media report 200 Israelis chanting racist slogans, but fail to cover 1,000 at peace rally

Since the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar were buried in a Modi’in cemetery on Tuesday, UK media coverage has pivoted from some degree of sympathy towards the victims and their families to more familiar territory – obsessive focus on reports of Israeli vengeance, racism and intolerance.  

Thus, though support for the terrorist kidnappers/murderers expressed by many Palestinians during the 18 day ordeal was (to the best of our knowledge) not mentioned by any of the major UK dailies, multiple news outlets have subsequently seen fit to report every Israeli expression of intolerance towards Arabs since the teens’ bullet-ridden bodies were discovered near Hebron.

A perfect example of this skewed coverage can be found by comparing ubiquitous reports on a march by a couple of hundred racist Israelis in Jerusalem on Tuesday, who chanted hateful slogans, including ‘death to Arabs’, vs the absence of any coverage devoted to the pro-peace, pro-tolerance rally held the following day in the Israeli capital. Here are the relevant passages from UK media reports about the racist march. Guardian, July 2: (‘Live Blog’ edited by Matthew Weaver)

Gangs of right wing Israelis have been chanting “death to the Arabs” in the wake of the killing of the three teenagers, Footage has emerged of Israeli youth chanting in Hebrew “death to the Arabs” following the killing of the three teenagers.

Telegraph, July 3 (AFP)

After the three were buried on Tuesday, more than 200 Israeli extremists rampaged through Jerusalem, dragging people out of cars and chanting “Death to Arabs”.

Times of London, July 2 (Catherine Philp)

In Jerusalem, several hundred right-wing Israeli youths, many of them skullcap-wearing Orthodox Jews, shouted for revenge as they marched through the city.

Independent, July 1 (Ben Lynfield)

In Jerusalem, a demonstration organised by anti-Arab activists that drew hundreds turned violent.

Financial Times, July 2 (Joel Greenberg)

On Tuesday night, crowds of militant Jewish youths rampaged through the centre of Jerusalem, shouting “Death to Arabs” and assaulting Palestinian workers in the area.

However, UK media sites have thus far failed to report the pro-tolerance rally last night in Kikar Hahatulot in Jerusalem which drew up to a thousand Israelis who were attempting to undo the damage of the anti-Arab rally a night earlier.   Here are a few photos of the event, which this writer attended. first 2 3

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Chaim Herzog, center

The rally included politicians (including Labor Party Chairman Chaim Herzog, seen below), public figures, Rabbis and (mostly) ordinary citizens.

We’ll update this post if UK media sites subsequently do file reports on the pro-peace event. 

Focus below the line: Guardian readers ‘reflect’ on Israel and the Jews (June 30)

This post is part of a series which re-focuses on the problem of biased moderation at the Guardian’s blog ‘Comment is Free’ (CiF) – particularly, reader comments which are off-topic, ad hominem or antisemitic, and yet not deleted by their team of professional moderators. All of the following comments have been posted under ‘CiF’ op-eds which have nothing to do with the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

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And what terrible post of Bonbonniera has been deleted? This one…

19 Jun 2014 12:45pm

nakba denialism? very funny. You will have to indict the Guardian as being evil and fascist and the British officials of 1948 in the Mandate as evil and fascist too.

By early 1948 British officials were reporting that “the Arabs have suffered a series of overwhelming defeats.” They added: “Jewish victories … have reduced Arab morale to zero and, following the cowardly example of their inept leaders, they are fleeing from the mixed areas in their thousands. It is now obvious that the only hope of regaining their position lies in the regular armies of the Arab states.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/apr/26/british-secret-documents-palestine-partition

There was no nakba, the Arabs fled from Israel because their leaders were inept.

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None of these comments have been deleted by ‘CiF’ moderators.

 

Guardian erases the ethnic cleansing of Jews in the Mid-East, again and again and again…

A few hours ago we published our reply to a June 11th Guardian article which whitewashed the ethnic cleansing of over 800,000 Jews from Arab countries between 1947 and 1972 – consistent with a pattern of such historical revisionism at the London daily which manifested itself again in a June 16th op-ed by .

Ramadani made the following claim in a piece titled ‘The sectarian myth of Iraq‘:

[Nobody] has yet produced historical evidence of significant communal fighting between Iraq’s religions, sects, ethnicities or nationalities. Prior to the 2003 US-led occupation, the only incident was the 1941 violent looting of Jewish neighbourhoods – which is still shrouded in mystery as to who planned it. Documents relating to that criminal incident are still kept secret at the Public Records Office by orders of successive British governments. The bombing of synagogues in Baghdad in 1950-51 turned out to be the work of Zionists to frighten Iraq’s Jews – one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world – into emigrating to Israel following their refusal to do so.

There are two claims – one about the 1941 “violent looting” (known as the Farhud), and another about a specific synagogue bombing in Baghdad. 

Farhud

First, regarding the “violent looting of Jewish neighborhoods“, Lyn Julius, an expert on the issue of Arab refugees from Arab countries, provided a brief account of the incident in a recent essay:

The Farhud — a Kurdish word meaning “forced dispossession” — erupted at the peak of World War ll. Over two days of rioting coinciding with the Jewish festival of Shavuot, a frenzied mob, including Arab neighbors and policemen, murdered around 180 Jews in Baghdad and other cities (the exact figure is not known); 242 children were orphaned, scores of women raped, hundreds wounded, 900 homes and 586 Jewish-owned shops were looted. Although some Arabs did heroically defend their Jewish neighbors, stories abound of pregnant women eviscerated, babies mutilated and Jewish hospital patients refused treatment or poisoned. The dead were hurriedly buried in a mass grave.

Though the question Ramadani raises – whether the anti-Jewish riots were “a direct result of incitement and deliberate, organized, German-Nazi propaganda” – is an interesting one (one which Julius addresses in her essay), by focusing on the narrow issue of who ‘incited’ the riots, he deflects from the more pertinent fact: that a “frenzied mob” of Iraqi Muslims perpetrated the atrocity, and they bear most of the moral responsibility.

Synagogue bombing:

Regarding the 1951 synagogue bombing:

Evidence revealed in 2006 by Tom Segev (a historian not known for towing the ‘Zionist narrative’) demonstrated that Iraqis from the Muslim Brotherhood threw the deadly bomb – not Zionists, as Ramadani claims.

On January 14, 1951, at about seven in the evening, a bomb – or perhaps it was a hand grenade – was tossed into the open courtyard of the Masuda Shemtov synagogue in Baghdad. The courtyard served as a gathering place for Jews, prior to their departure for the airport, on their way to Israel. At the time of the terror attack, the place was filled with several hundred people. Four of them, including a 12-year-old boy, were killed; about 10 were wounded. The Iraqi authorities blamed two activists from the Zionist underground, and had them executed.

Now, a recent publication is shedding new light on the mystery. The revelations come from Yehuda Tager, an Israeli agent who operated in Baghdad, was exposed and spent about 10 years in prison there. According to Tager, the bombing of the Masuda Shemtov synagogue was not carried out by Israelis, but by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Further, at Point of No Return (the blog on Jewish Refugees from Arab countries), further refuting claims that Zionist may have been behind the bombing, notes that by March of that year (1951), all but about 6,000 Jews had decided to register to leave Iraq – calling into question why ‘Zionists’ would go to such efforts to spur Aliyah when the overwhelming majority of Iraqi Jews had already decided to do so.

Also, Israeli historian Moshe Gat has argued that it is “highly unlikely the Israelis would have taken such measures to accelerate the Jewish evacuation given that they were already struggling to cope with the existing [mass] immigration”.

Leaving the one bombing aside, the broader fact that Jews in Iraq, once a community of 135,000, fled the country due to antisemitic persecution is undeniable, and the Guardian contributor’s suggestion that Zionist agitation caused their flight is simply a lie.

As Point of No Return has noted about life for Jews prior to the bombing in 1951:

Jews were leaving [Iraq] illegally at a rate of 1,000 a month in 1949. Jews fled because they were being persecuted, because of the execution of the anti-Zionist Jew Shafik Ades in September 1948, because they were sacked from the Civil Service, because they could not enroll in universities and colleges, because they could not travel, because money was being extorted from them, because they were being arbitrarily arrested and unfairly singled out as Zionists.

Here are the major antisemitic events, again, per Point of No Return:

  • 1932: German Charge d’affaires, Fritz Grobba, publishes instalments of Mein Kampf in Arabic daily newspaper. Radio Berlin begins Arabic broadcasts.
  • 1934 – 36: 600 Jewish clerks dismissed from government
  • 1934: regulation introduced requiring Jews to deposit £50 to travel abroad.
  • 1935: state secondary schools impose quotas on Jewish students. Hebrew and Jewish history instruction forbidden. Only the Bible can be read without translation.
  • 1936: government-licensed Jewish businesses must have a Muslim partner.
  • 1939: Iraqi public school system begins to follow a Nazi education model.
  • 1936: Three Jews murdered in Baghdad, one in Basra. Bomb thrown into synagogue on Yom Kippur.
  • 1936 – 39: despite the Chief Rabbi officially dissociating himself from Zionism and a condemnation of Zionism signed by 33 Iraqi Jewish leaders, seven murders of Jews and six bombings take place.
  • 1941: In the interregnum following a pro-Nazi coup, 179 Jews are killed and 911 houses looted in the Farhoud pogrom.
  • 1947: Iraqi Foreign minister threatens expulsion of Jews as part of coordinated Arab League plan if Partition of Palestine goes ahead.
  • 1948: state of emergency declared; 310 Jews court-martialed.
  • 1948: Jews receiving letters from Palestine accused of Zionism.
  • September 1948: Shafik Ades, Iraq’s richest Jew, hanged.
  • May 1948 – Dec 1949: 800 – 1,500 Jews dismissed from public service. Jewish banks lose their foreign exchange trading licences. Restrictions on high school and university students.
  • Jewish community ‘donates’ 113,000 dinars to war effort against Israel. Fines collected from Iraqi Jews: $80 million. Travel ban on Jews and on buying and selling property. Retroactive tax on Jews. Property of all Jews who had emigrated since 1933 confiscated. Government ceases to service Jewish areas. Property of Jewish prisoners impounded. Jewish newspapers shut down.
  • Feb and March 1949: 100 Jews tried for connections to Zionism.
  • March 1950: Iraqi Parliament Ordinance permits Jewish emigration upon forfeiture of citizenship. Some 120,000 Jews register to leave.
  • March 1951: Law no. 5 deprives all stateless Iraqi Jews of their property.

All of these events of course wildly contradict Ramadani’s suggestion that there was no significant ethnic, sectarian or religious inspired violence prior to the Iraq invasion in 2003.

As Elder of Ziyon argued in his own excellent fisking of Ramadani’s op-ed, The Guardian whitewashes historic Iraqi antisemitism, “Comment may be free, but The Guardian has an obligation to fact-check what people write”.

UPDATE:

Yiftah Curiel, spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London, had a letter published at the Guardian on June 18th in response to Ramadani’s op-ed.

 

The Guardian fetishizes the ‘culture’ of Palestinian terrorism

A May 16th Guardian article by Karma Nabulsi – an Oxford University academic and former PLO representative who previously claimed, at the Guardian, that Palestinian “schoolchildren are blown to bits [by the IDF] while playing’ – which fetishizes Palestinian violence represents a pattern at the media group, whereby contributors and editors support for the ‘right’ of Palestinians to engage in terror attacks against Israelis.

Here are just a few examples: Guardian editors published a letter in January 2011 by a philosophy professor which explicitly defended the right of Palestinians (on moral grounds) to murder Israeli civilians in terror attacks – an editorial decision which was actually defended by their readers’ editor following the uproar which ensued;  In May 2011, the Guardian published an official editorial about the ‘Arab Spring’, and praised the Palestinians for teaching the Arab world how to launch ‘successful’ intifadas; And, in November 2012, during the war in Gaza, Associate Editor Seumas Milne wrote an op-ed explicitly defending the right of Hamas to launch terror attacks against Israelis, and argued that Israel has no such moral right to defend itself.

So, while the May 16th article, titled ‘Artist of the Palestinian revolution‘, on an exhibit featuring Palestinian revolutionary films and art now showing at venues in London (under the slogan “The World is with Us“), comes as little surprise, it’s nonetheless interesting in the way it’s presented, as embodying chic, progressive artistic sensibilities.

headline

Nabulsi’s tale about the glorious nature of the Palestinian revolution begins in the early passages:

In the simplest terms, the story of the Palestinian revolution is a story of the cadres who created it, served it, and gave it both life and force. A people expelled en masse from their homeland, they managed to take matters into their own hands and transform their situation in a most ingenious manner. Initiated by a handful of young refugees, they began to “make their own history”, launching a popular struggle in the late 1960s to regain their homeland and their rights.

However, the PLO was founded in 1964, three years before Israel was ‘occupying’ any Palestinian – or, more accurately, Jordanian – territory, and the (clearly stated) goal of the “popular struggle” was not to “regain their homeland”, but to annihilate the Jewish state.

Nabulsi not only fails to note that the weapons depicted in her beloved Palestinian art were used to murder unarmed Jewish civilians, but characterizes the PLO and other Palestinians terror groups as culturally vibrant, progressive, and humanistic social welfare-based institutions:

Developing factories, institutions, hospitals, schooling and a plethora of ideologies inside an armed struggle throughout the 1970s, Palestinians also created an ebullient revolutionary culture of music, film, poetry, radio, photography, painting and plastic arts, and became the touchstone for revolutionary movements across the world.

Here’s the next terrorist-chic graphic from the exhibit used by Nabulsi:

next

Nabulsi then sums up the movement thusly:

By no means a Marxist revolution (although Marxists were a part of it), it was definitely progressive, and certainly popular. To the revolutionary movements of Africa, Latin America and Asia it was known intimately: Palestine was with the world, just as the world was with Palestine.

This was not merely an anti-colonial or national liberation movement. Comprising the disenfranchised and the dispossessed, and driven by a determination to return home, and to count on themselves alone, meant that the Palestinian cause was not national, nor leftist, but, instead, of the whole people. The culture of return and the armed struggle at the heart of the revolution brought common cause to a people whose country had been destroyed by the Nakba

Since 1964 (the year the PLO was founded), over two thousand Israelis have been murdered, and thousands more maimed, by the “culture of Palestinian armed struggle”.

Finally, we’ll leave you with the trailer from the ‘The World Is With Us” London exhibit promoted by Nabulsi:

 

TWIWU Web Trailer from Palestine Film Foundation on Vimeo.

 

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CiF Watch prompts Indy correction – acknowledges that Arab towns were built since ’48

On May 7th we posted about Ben Lynfield’s column (Netanyahu’s ‘Jewish state’ law angers Arab Israelis, May 2) at the Independent, which included the following claim:

For example, while hundreds of new cities, towns and localities for Jews have been established since 1948, not a single new Arab town has been created

Whilst the suggestion that hundreds of “Jewish towns” have been established is itself very misleading (as we noted in our original post), the claim that “not a single Arab town has been created” is flat-out untrue. There have been 7 new towns built for the Arab Bedouin. (Bedouins are a sub-group with Israel’s Arab minority)

Since 1948, there have…been seven towns that the government planned and constructed for Bedouin residents of the Negev

Between 1965 and 1990, Israel indeed built seven new towns, which were able to absorb half of the Negev Bedouin…

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):

State-planned [Arab-Bedouin] towns…were set up in the 1960s and 1970s: Hura, Kseifa, Laqia, Arara, Rahat, Segev Shalom and Tel-Sheva.

We contacted Indy editors to point out the error, and they ultimately agreed that the claim was inaccurate – and revised the passage in question. 

It now reads:

For example, while hundreds of new cities, towns and localities for Jews have been established since 1948, not a single new Arab town has been created (aside from the seven settlements built specifically for the Negev’s Bedouin residents, which have been the source of considerable controversy). 

We commend Indy editors for responding positively to our complaint.

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Lyn Julius replies to the Guardian’s whitewash of the ethnic cleansing of Jews

On May 4th we posted about an article by Guardian Middle East editor Ian Black that whitewashed the radical anti-Israel agenda of the NGO, Zochrot.  However, what we didn’t address at the time was Black’s characteristic whitewash of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands in the following passage of the article:

Zochrot’s focus on the hyper-sensitive question of the 750,000 Palestinians who became refugees has earned it the hostility of the vast majority of Israeli Jews who flatly reject any Palestinian right of return. Allowing these refugees – now, with their descendants, numbering seven million people – to return to Jaffa, Haifa or Acre, the argument goes, would destroy the Jewish majority, the raison d’etre of the Zionist project. (Israelis often also suggest an equivalence with the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees who lost homes and property after 1948 in Arab countries such as Iraq and Morocco – although their departure was encouraged and facilitated by the young state in the 1950s.)

We were going to comment on Black’s historical revisionism today when we learned that Lyn Julius - one of the more knowledgeable commentators on the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries – had submitted a letter to the Guardian in response which (unsurprisingly) the paper declined to publish.  

Here’s her letter:

Ian Black’s article (Remembering the Nakba: Israeli group puts 1948 back on the map) promotes a fringe Israeli NGO’s sick objective: the destruction of the state of Israel through the Palestinian ‘right of return’, while virtually ignoring the ‘Jewish Nakba’ of 856,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries at the same time.

Wringing their hands about depopulated Palestinian villages, Zochrot remain ignorant, silent and unmoved by the depopulation of scores of Arab cities of their age-old Jewish communities.

There are almost no Jews living in Baghdad, Alexandria, Tripoli, Sana’a and Damascus  today. While the Palestinians were the tragic by-product of a war their leadership launched and lost, a larger number of Jews became refugees through an Arab policy of scapegoating and ethnic cleansing.

The mass airlifts of these persecuted Jews to Israel were in fact rescue missions.

Antisemitism prevents any possible return of Jews to Arab countries.

Imagine if a Zochrot equivalent operated in Baghdad, where Jews were once the largest single ethnic group.

On second thoughts, don’t. The Jews would be run out of the city and would be lucky to escape with their lives.

Finally, here’s a graph by the group ‘Justice for Jews from Arab countries‘ quantifying the extent of the forced Jewish exodus.

main facts

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The Independent fails to fact-check claim in story about ‘Jewish State’ proposal

As our posts noting CiF Watch-prompted corrections often demonstrate, beyond the UK media’s biased coverage of the region there lies another somewhat related problem – the failure to fact-check claims used to buttress their anti-Israel narrative.

A case in point is an article at The Independent by Ben Lynfield on May 2nd titled ‘Netanyahu’s Jewish state law angers Arabs‘, reporting on the prime minister’s proposal ‘to advance a constitutional Basic Law identifying Israel as a Jewish nation-state’.  While the article itself was predictably hostile to the proposal, and quoted critics who charged that defining Israel as ‘a Jewish nation-state’ would erode the rights of non-Jews, the following passage particularly caught our eye.

The Arab citizens of Israel, who number a fifth of the population, comprise Palestinians who remained behind when their compatriots were expelled or fled when Israel was established in 1948. They have the right to vote but regularly face discrimination from authorities. For example, while hundreds of new cities, towns and localities for Jews have been established since 1948, not a single new Arab town has been created.

First, Lynfield’s claim that hundreds of towns and cities have been built “for Jews” is, at best, highly misleading, as new Israeli cities, towns and localities generally do not distinguish between Jews, Muslims, Druze, Christians or members of other faiths.

Additionally, his claim that “not a single new Arab town has been created” since 1948 is false. In fact, there have been 7 new towns built specifically for Israeli Bedouins. (Bedouins are a sub-group within Israel’s Arab minority.)

Human Rights Watch:

in 60 years [there] have been seven towns that the government planned and constructed for Bedouin residents of the Negev

Ha’aretz:

Between 1965 and 1990, Israel indeed built seven new towns, which were able to absorb half of the Negev Bedouin…

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):

State-planned [Arab-Bedouin] towns…were set up in the 1960s and 1970s: Hura, Kseifa, Laqia, Arara, Rahat, Segev Shalom and Tel-Sheva.

We don’t know what led Ben Lynfield to believe that there were no Arab towns built since 1948, and why Indy editors didn’t fact-check the passage in question, but the claim is clearly inaccurate. 

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What about the Grand Mufti’s desire to ‘liquidate the Jews’ doesn’t Robert Fisk understand?

Fisking “Middle East expert” Robert Fisk can be especially challenging, as he often pivots seamlessly between mere distortions and outright fabrications within the same essay.  His latest op-ed at The Independent, The real poison is to be found in Arafat’s legacy, Nov. 18, represents a great example of his talent for such multi-faceted misrepresentations.

fisk

Though he dismisses recent accusations that Arafat was poisoned, Fisk, in attempting to explain the legacy of the late Palestinian leader, whitewashes his decades-long involvement in lethal terrorist attacks against Israelis, and risibly claims that his biggest character flaw was that he was in fact ‘too trusting’ of Israeli leaders.

Fisk writes:

He made so many concessions to Israel – because he was growing old and wanted to go to “Palestine” before he died – that his political descendants are still paying for them. Arafat had never seen a Jewish colony on occupied land when he accepted the Oslo agreement. He trusted the Americans. He trusted the Israelis. He trusted anyone who appeared to say the right things. And it must have been exhausting to start his career as a super-“terrorist” in Beirut and then be greeted on the White House lawn as a super- “statesman” and then re-created by Israel as a super-“terrorist” again.

However, the most egregious lie by omission appears later in the essay when he addresses comments Arafat reportedly made about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, per a conversation he had with Edward Said:

Edward Said told me that Arafat said to him in 1985 that “if there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s to be like Haj Amin. He was always right, and he got nothing and died in exile.”

Hunted by the British, Haj Amin, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, went to Berlin during the Second World War in the hope that Hitler would help the Palestinians.

His claim that the pro-Nazi Haj Amin was merely attempting to “help the Palestinians” represents an extraordinary obfuscation.  

As a CAMERA report (based on documentation in a book by Jennie Lebel titled ‘The Mufti of Jerusalem: Haj-Amin el-Husseini and National-Socialism‘) makes clear, Haj Amin’s desire to ‘help the Palestinians’ was superseded by a greater passion – to annihilate the Jews.

Haj Amin El-Husseini, who was appointed Mufti of Jerusalem in 1921 aided by sympathetic British officials, advocated violent opposition to Jewish settlement in the Mandate for Palestine and incited the Arabs against the growing Jewish presence. Lebel describes the violence of 1929, where Haj Amin spread the story that the Jews planned to destroy the Dome of the Rock and the Aqsa mosque. Using falsified photos of the mosque on fire and disseminating propaganda that borrowed from the anti-Jewish forgery, the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the mufti instigated a widespread pogrom against Jews in Palestine. On Aug. 23, Arabs streamed into Jerusalem and attacked Jews. Six days later, a second wave of attacks resulted in 64 dead in Hebron

Hebron_massacre_newspaper

The Mufti injected a religiously based anti-Jewish component into the emerging Palestinian national consciousness….Presaging modern boycott proposals against Jewish settlement, Haj Amin called on all Muslims to boycott Jewish goods and organized an Arab strike on April 10, 1936.

He saw in the Nazis and Italian fascists natural allies who would do what the British were unwilling to do — purge the region of Jews and help him establish a unified Arab state throughout the Middle East…Believing that the Axis might prevail in the war, the mufti secured a commitment from both Italy and Germany to the formation of a region-wide Arab state. He also asked for permission to solve the Jewish problem by the “same method that will be applied for the solution of the Jewish problem in the Axis states.” 

On Nov. 28, 1941, he met for the first time with Adolf Hitler, relaying to the German leader the Arab conviction that Germany would win the war and that this would benefit the Arab cause. 
The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husayni, meets Hitler for the first time. Berlin, Germany, November 28, 1941.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, meets Hitler in Berlin

While Hitler shared the mufti’s belief that the present war would determine the fate of the Arabs, his priority was the struggle against what he saw as Jewish-controlled Britain and the Soviet Union. Lebel reveals Hitler’s promise that when the German army reached the southern borders of the Caucasus, he would announce to the Arab world their time of liberation had come. The Germans would annihilate all Jews who lived in Arab areas.
… 

[Haj Amin's] conspiratorial view of Jewish ambitions are reflected in the widespread dissemination of such publications as “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in the Arab and Muslim world. The view of the Jews as contaminators of society and malevolent conspirators resonate today in the founding Charter of Hamas.

In a radio broadcast from Germany on Nov. 16, 1943…Haj Amin laid out his vision of the conflict with the Jews:

“The Jews bring the world poverty, trouble and disaster … they destroy morality in all countries… they falsify the words of the prophet, they are the bearers of anarchy and bring suffering to the world. They are like moths who eat away all the good in the countries. They prepared the war machine for Roosevelt and brought disaster to the world. They are monsters and the basis for all evil in the world ….” 

As Nazi official Wilhelm Melchers testified after the war:

The mufti was an accomplished foe of the Jews and did not conceal that he would love to see all of them liquidated.

It’s clear that Haj Amin’s relationship with Hitler was no mere ‘alliance of convenience’, but was based on shared eliminationist antisemitic fantasies.  As Jeffrey Herf wrote in his 2009 book, ‘Nazi Propaganda for the Arab world‘, the Mufti “played a central role in the cultural fusion of European with Islamic traditions of Jew-hatred [and] was one of the few who had mastered the ideological themes and nuances of fascism and Nazism, as well as the anti-Jewish elements within the Koran and its subsequent commentaries.”

Robert Fisk’s innocuous description of Haj Amin as ‘pro-Palestinian’ is as morally perverse as characterizing Adolf Hitler as merely  ‘pro-Aryan’.

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:

lieberman

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.