Does the Guardian object to Bob Carr’s antisemitic insinuation?

The charge that ‘Jewish money’ corrupts politics in Western countries is certainly nothing new, but we continue to marvel at the evolution - as this blog has observed on many occasions - by which such Judeophobic narratives about the injurious influence of Jews typically associated with the far-right are increasingly fashionable amongst commentators claiming a progressive orientation.

There was a good illustration of this disturbing trend in excerpts of new autobiography by Bob Carr, the former Australian foreign minister, as reported by the political editor of Guardian Australia Lenore Taylor.  The article, published on April 9, included the following passages:

Bob Carr: Diary of a Foreign Minister includes a detailed account of a period in October and November 2012 when Carr campaigned against [Prime Minister] Gillard’s insistence that Australia should support Israel and vote against Palestinian observer status in the United Nations.

The bitter fight became entwined in the leadership tensions that were reaching a crescendo at the time.

As it reached its height, he describes [former Prime Minister] Kevin Rudd arriving at his parliament house office “purse-lipped, choirboy hair, speaking in that sinister monotone. A chilling monotone”.

Rudd’s had a “morbid interest” in the issue which had the potential to impact both on Australia’s fate in the upcoming vote for a seat on the UN security council and on his own chances to return to the prime ministership.

How much of this is about money, I asked him,” Carr writes. “He said about one-fifth of the money he had raised in the 2007 election campaign had come from the Jewish community.”

Carr concludes that “subcontracting our foreign policy to party donors is what this involves. Or appears to involve.”

First, it’s important to note that Australia ended up voting to ‘abstain’ from the UN vote on ‘Palestine’, rather than voting ‘no’ as the U.S. and Israel was reportedly lobbying them to do.  So, if, as Carr suggests, the government’s decision on the ‘Palestine’ vote in the UN was indeed dictated by Jewish donations, why did they choose the course of action opposed by Israel and the Jewish community?

Further, Gillard’s tenure as prime minister was widely seen as a shift away from the staunchly pro-Israel policies of the government under prime minister John Howard, which governed the country for 11 years prior to Labor’s victory in 2007.  So, again, if money from Australian Jews dictated the government’s policy regarding the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, why didn’t Gillard continue with the policies of her predecessor? 

However, putting aside the specious reasoning behind Carr’s imputation of Jewish influence in Australian politics aside, it’s quite interesting how the Guardian framed the story.   Here’s the headline and strap line to Taylor’s article:

headline

The strap line text is curious in that it frames Carr’s accusation (per the reasonably accurate headline) as ‘casting light‘ on the government’s alleged support for Israel – a term referring to something which provides an explanation for a phenomena or makes it easier to understand. 

Additionally, there’s nothing in the passages in Taylor’s report following Carr’s quote which would suggest that his accusation was at all problematic, controversial or tinged with bigotry.

To be fair, it’s far less than clear how Taylor interpreted Carr’s remark.  

However, it is indisputable that narratives suggesting the money and influence of Jewish or pro-Israel groups undermine the foreign policy of democratic countries is something akin to conventional wisdom within a segment of the U.S. and European Left.  And, it’s fair to conclude that – for most within the Guardian-Left political milieu – Carr’s words would likely represent ‘important insight’ into the root cause of the putatively pro-Israel bias in the West.

‘Comment is Free’ uses misleading Livni quote the Guardian previously corrected

In an Nov. 26 essay titled ‘Australia’s U-turn on Israeli settlements in occupied territories is shameful‘ ‘Comment is Free’ contributor  - another anti-Zionist Jewish voice associated with ‘CiF’ Australia - criticizes his country for supporting Israel, alleging that the new government is now “complicit in many breaches of international law” regarding the settlements.

brull

After citing Australia’s recent abstention at the UN in a vote which “called for an end to Israeli settlements in the occupied territories”, Brull adds the following:

There is little controversy about the status of settlements under international law. The international court of justice, in its 2004 advisory opinion on the wall being constructed by Israel in the West Bank, concluded that “the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law.”

Indeed, as former Australian Labor party foreign minister Bob Carr recently noted, in 1967 the Israeli prime minister was informed by his chief law officer that settlements were illegal under international law. Nevertheless, Israel almost immediately began building settlements – a process that increased exponentially as the decades progressed. 

Then, a couple of paragraphs down, he purports to quote former Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni to buttress his argument:

Livni knows perfectly well why Israel builds settlements. In another candid moment, she explained that “the Israel policy is to take more and more land day after day and that at the end of the day we’ll say that it is impossible we already have the land and cannot create the state.” Livni admitted that this “was the policy of the government for a really long time.” She claimed that whilst it “is still the policy of some of the parties”, the government policy has changed. That was a less candid moment.

However, it’s Brull who is being “less than candid”, as his quote is a mischaracterization of what Livni said (during negotiations with the Palestinians in 2007), as documented in the “Palestine Papers” released by the Guardian in 2011. Indeed, as was widely reported at the time, the Guardian was forced to issue the following correction to a story they published on Jan. 24, 2011 which used the same Livni quote.  

Here’s their correction on Feb. 12, 2011:

corex

Even worse, in the passage in question in his essay Brull had the audacity to link to the original Guardian report which had the corrected, full quote by Livni.  This suggests that he may have knowingly cut the quote and deleted the words which showed it in its proper context.

As Just Journalism wrote about the Guardian’s “error” at the time, “By cutting the quote to exclude the first part of Tzipi Livni’s sentence, The Guardian portrayed the Israeli politician as brazenly admitting a policy of making a Palestinian state impossible.”

Now, more than two years later, CiF contributor Michael Brull – in an effort to show that Livni shared his views on settlements – repeated almost exactly the same Guardian deception. 

Guardian Australia Edition fails to cover vicious antisemitic attack in Sydney (Update)

In May, the Guardian launched the media group’s third international digital edition, Guardian Australia, a venture - edited by Katharine Viner, co-creator of ‘My Name is Rachel Corrie‘ - which their editors characterized as an “endeavour to engage [readers] with up-to-the-moment reporting, investigations, commentary, blogging, in-depth analysis…chutzpah and fun.”

The Australian edition was further celebrated by the Guardian upon its launch as an effort to “cater [to] the 1.1million Australians who regularly read the Guardian’s global website”.

aussie

However, it seems difficult to reconcile their mission, to cater to all Australians, with their failure thus far to devote any coverage to the otherwise widely reported racist incident two days ago in Sydney in which five Jews were viciously beaten - an attack characterized as the worst incident of anti-Semitic violence” in the city in many years.

Jewish victim of Friday's antisemitic attack in Sydney

Victim of Friday’s antisemitic attack in Sydney

In addition to reports of the incident in the mainstream media abroad, major Australian dailies have also given prominent coverage to the attack, which occurred after a mob of eight teens taunted the group of kippah-wearing Jews with racist abuse as they were walking home from Shabbat dinner. Four of the victims were reportedly hospitalized, with injuries that included a concussion and a fractured cheekbone. 

Two 17-year-olds and a 23-year-old were arrested at the scene, but the rest of the alleged attackers managed to escape.

Interestingly, the Guardian Australia has, however, managed to devote space to other pressing stories out of Sydney since Friday:

sydney

Of course, such selective reporting isn’t anything new at the Guardian. As we reported at the time, in 2012 the Guardian bent over backwards to avoid characterizing the murder, by a French-Algerian Islamist, of four Jews (including three children) at a school in Toulouse as antisemitic in nature, and even managed to publish two editorials on the attack without mentioning that the victims were Jewish.

As we’ve argued previously, the stories the Guardian seriously downplays or even, as in the antisemitic attack in Sydney, avoids covering altogether, speaks volumes about their skewed, far-left ideology.

(Update: On Monday morning, Oct. 28, the Guardian finally covered the antisemitic attack in Sydney, here and here.)

Guardian misrepresents Israel’s public security minister on ‘secret prisoners’

In February we commented on the Guardian’s obsessive coverage of the ‘Prisoner X’ case – a story concerning a Mossad agent, named Ben Zygier, facing lengthy prison sentence for leaking highly classified information who committed suicide in Israel’s Ayalon Prison.  

More recently, it was revealed that a second anonymous security prisoner was held at the same time that Zygier took his own life in the facility’s cell 15.

The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood opens her report on the new ‘revelation’ (Israel admits holding second secret prisoner, July 11th), thus:

“Israel is holding a second unidentified security prisoner in conditions of extreme secrecy, according to court documents released this week in relation to Prisoner X, the Australian-Israeli secret agent who hanged himself in jail in 2010 and whose case caused a sensation when it was exposed earlier this year.

The existence of another top-secret prisoner was acknowledged in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday, although no details were disclosed.

But former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman described it as “an exceptionally grave case”, and the lawyer for Ben Zygier, who was dubbed Prisoner X when details of his case were revealed in February, said the second prisoner’s alleged offences were “sensational”.

Israel insisted it was acting within the law in regard to secret prisoners held in isolation and whose identity is concealed even from prison guards.

The existence of “Prisoner X2″ was revealed in an appendix to a document released by the justice ministry on the circumstances of Zygier’s death.”

Sherwood then pivots to statements made earlier about such secret prisoners by Israel’s public security minister:

“The public security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, denied that he had lied when he said in the aftermath of disclosures about Zygier that there were no other secret prisoners in Israeli jails.”

So, did Minister Aharonovitch in fact say that there were no other “secret prisoners” as Knell claims? 

Well, as Hadar Sela at BBC Watch noted in a post about similar claims made by the BBC’s Yolande Knell, Aharonovitch did not in fact say that there were no other “secret prisoners” in Israel.   The following is an English translation (by Sela) from a video embedded in this Hebrew article in which the Minister reads his own words verbatim from the minutes of the Knesset meeting of February 20th, 2013 to clarify what he said regarding such secret prisoners:

“In the State of Israel there are no nameless and disappeared prisoners. In the State of Israel there is no conduct in the shadows. In the State of Israel there is appropriate legal supervision and guidance and there is also concern for the security of the State of Israel: concern which in order to take care of it, sometimes it is [necessary] to operate in great secrecy.”

Aharonovitch clarifies the point:

“Indeed in the State of Israel there are no prisoners who disappear and their families do not know of their arrest. There are also no prisoners who disappear and the judicial authorities, the advocate and the courts do not take care of their affairs.”

Contrary to Sherwood’s claim, Aharonovitch did not say that there were no other “secret prisoners in Israeli jails”, but that there are no “nameless” and “disappeared” prisoners as there are in tyrannical countries without judicial checks and balances.  The personal information on some security prisoners is sometimes not released to the media, but such prisoners are not – as Aharonovitch noted – “hidden” from the judicial system or the courts, nor denied proper legal counsel.  Further, Israelis’ elected representatives – members of the Knesset committee for security and foreign affairs – are also fully informed about the details of such top security prisoners.

As much as the Guardian has tried to spin the initial row over such ‘secret’ prisoners as emblematic of the Jewish state’s illiberal nature, the evidence shows that even those Israeli prisoners guilty of gravest national security crimes are afforded the rights of due process to a degree fully consistent with democratic norms.

CiF contributor Antony Loewenstein promotes lie about ‘Jews only roads’

When we learned that ‘Comment is Free’ was expanding into Australia, it was assumed that a marginal anti-Zionist Jew (and occasional CiF contributor) named Antony Loewenstein would be providing additional anti-Israel ‘commentary’, and his latest piece, though putatively not about Israel, didn’t disappoint.  Loewenstein’s ‘CiF’ post about the Australian opposition leader, ‘What would Tony Abbott’s foreign policy look like?‘, July 4, isn’t even tagged with “Israel”, yet a significant amount of space is devoted to warning Guardian readers of Abbott’s staunchly pro-Israel policies.  

Loewenstein writes the following:

Abbott seems to retain a Bush administration style perspective – you’re either with us or against us. He told Washington’s right-wing Heritage Foundation last year that, “Australia’s foreign policy should be driven as much by our values as our interests”. It isn’t clear what values he cherishes when he told the Central Synagogue in 2012 that, “[Israel is] a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy. A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope.” He made no mention of Israel occupying millions of Palestinians under brutal military rule. He went on: “When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances”. It’s a comic book reading of the Middle East (at least foreign minister Carr, along with British foreign secretary William Hague, now rightly calls Israeli colonies “illegal”).

When I met Abbott in Sydney in 2010 and challenged him to learn more about Israel’s flouting of international law, he reverted to familiar, right-wing Zionist talking points. Both the Liberal party and Zionist lobby remain upset that in 2012, Australia didn’t reject Palestine’s statehood at the UN. Foreign affairs spokesperson for the Coalition, Julie Bishop, has pledged to return Australia to an uncritical stance towards Israel, placing us in a very isolated position globally. (The Greens, especially senator Lee Rhiannon, condemns Israel’s destruction of aid projects in Palestine, some of which are funded by Canberra).

The hyperlink in the second paragraph copied above concerning “right-wing Zionist talking points” leads to a post at Loewenstein’s personal blog, which recounts a conversation he claims to have had with Abbott in 2010. The post includes the following claim:

After, while signing books, I approached Abbott again and we talked for a few minutes about the conflict. He said he had visited Israel as a guest of the government and only been taken to where they wanted to show him. When I said that there were Jewish-only roads in the West Bank, he said that was “bad” and looked uncomfortable.

Yes, ‘Jews-only’ roads in the West Bank would be “bad” if they existed. Of course, as CAMERA has definitely demonstrated in multiple posts over several years, the charge is a complete fiction. There are no “Jewish-only” roads in the West Bank.  Though there are some roads prohibited to Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel’s Arab citizens (and Israeli citizens of any religion or ethnicity) have just as much right to travel on those restricted roads as do Israeli Jews. .

An Arab shuttle bus travels on Highway 443, a road often incorrectly described as "Jewish-only" (Photo by Tamar Sternthal/CAMERA)

An Arab shuttle bus travels on Highway 443, a road often incorrectly described as “Jewish-only” (Photo by Tamar Sternthal/CAMERA)

Indeed, several media outlets have at times made similar mistakes about Israeli roads and then, upon being notified about their error by CAMERA, issued corrections. Here’s just one example from the Washington Post in 2010.

oneOther news outlets which corrected initial false claims concerning ‘Jews only’ roads include CNN, AP and the Boston Globe.

The charge that Israel has ‘Jews-only’ roads is a lie.

Perhaps Mr. Loewenstein may want to acknowledge that he was being dishonest about such roads, to both Mr. Abbott and the few people in Australia who may on occasion come across his blog.

Peter Beaumont’s “unnamed source” affirms Guardian narrative about ‘Prisoner X’

Observer foreign affairs editor Peter Beaumont just published his seventh report over the course of three days on Prisoner X – a man believed to have been an Australian-Israeli Mossad agent jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal state secrets to Australian authorities or the media, who committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

His latest piece, co-authored with Phoebe Greenwood, on Feb. 16 is titled ‘Israeli government to compensate family of Prisoner X‘, and is based on “an unnamed source” quoted in Haaretz, claiming a compensation deal was agreed to following the conclusion of an inquiry into the death of the prisoner (aka, Ben Zygier).

Beaumont’s latest post attempts to buttress the narrative, advanced in his other reports on Prisoner X, that Israel behaved in a manner inconsistent with democratic norms.  As we noted previously, one of Beaumont’s reports from Feb. 14 includes the following passage, citing the analysis of unnamed commentators:

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

In his latest report, he cites an “unnamed source“, thus:

“According to one unnamed source familiar with the Zygier case who spoke the YNet website: “When an Israeli is detained for security offences, a process begins, but no one knows how it will end. He disappears into interrogation rooms, and no one knows where he is. They do it using two tools: A gag order and an injunction that prevents the detainee from meeting with an attorney.”

However, contrary to the claims made by the source cited by Beaumont, not only did the detainee in this case meet with his attorney (Avigdor Feldman), but did so, according to an official at the State Prosecutor’s Office quoted in the same Feb 15. Ynet story Beaumont cited, “within days” of being incarcerated.

The official at the State Prosecutor’s Office added the following: 

 “…the picture painted by the media is far from reality. There are no ‘prisoners x’ in the State of Israel…It’s an expression taken from dictatorships where people were made to disappear without having seen a lawyer or family. There was no such thing here.”

In the past 25 years there were very few cases in which it was decided for security reasons to hold prisoners under pseudonyms.

In those cases, as in this particular case, the families were immediately made aware of the arrest and within a number of days the prisoner was given access to legal counsel. As in regular cases, there was due criminal process with the prisoner able to petition the court like any other inmate.”

Consistent with this Israeli official’s argument, a definitive study in ‘Homeland Security Affairs’ determined that, regarding issues “such as how long an individual can be detained without access to counsel for purposes of interrogation”, Israel “provides more overall due process and substantive rights to [security] detainees than America’s years of incommunicado and indefinite executive detention”.

To serious journalists, providing readers with relevant context and a comparative political or legal analysis of the issue matters.

Beaumont’s story, on the other hand, like so many other reports about Israel written by his fellow Guardian Group ‘journavists‘, cited only those “sources”  who confirmed his desired political narrative.

Peter Beaumont’s absurd political analogy regarding Israel and ‘Prisoner X’

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor at the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian), has already authored, or co-authored, six separate reports (totaling over 5000 words) in less than two days at the Guardian on the row over ‘Prisoner X’.

part 1

part 2

Prisoner X is believed to have been a Mossad agent (reportedly an Australian Israeli dual citizen named Ben Zygier) jailed by Israel because he was about to reveal Mossad secrets to Australian authorities or the media.  He reportedly committed suicide in his cell in 2010.

Due to the secrecy involved in any alleged spy case, there is a relative dearth of verifiable facts regarding Prisoner X’s background and incarceration.  However the absence of such information hasn’t prevented Beaumont from advancing the desired Guardian narrative regarding alleged Israeli violations of human rights and international legal norms.

Though the Observer is supposedly the more moderate of the two Guardian Group publications, Beaumont’s framing of the spy row has included one particularly hysterical political analogy, casually leveled without even an attempt to support its validity.

One of Beaumont’s reports from Feb. 14 includes the following passage:

“The latest revelations come amid a growing outcry over the case in Israel, with some comparing the treatment of Zygier to that meted out in the Soviet Union or Argentina and Chile under their military dictatorships.”

Naturally, Beaumont doesn’t inform us who specifically is making such a comparison, and even a cursory look at the judicial process, and the rights afforded Prisoner X, makes a mockery of the charge.

First, the prisoner’s incarceration was supervised by the Israeli judiciary, the original arrest warrant was issued by the authorized court, and the proceedings were overseen by the most senior Justice Ministry officials. We also now know that Prisoner X was legally represented by a top Israeli lawyer who reported, after meeting with his client, that he was in good health, was considering a plea bargain and didn’t appear to have been mistreated.

After the prisoner was found dead in his cell roughly two years ago, the President of the Rishon Lezion Magistrates Court held a coroner’s inquest into the cause of death and, though it was determined that suicide was the cause, “the Presiding Judge sent the file to the State Attorney’s Office for an evaluation regarding issues of [possible] negligence” by prison authorities.  

Further, the prisoner’s family was notified during the course of his incarceration, and Australian officials knew of the proceedings.

Though Prisoner X likely represented a serious security risk for Israel, he was afforded due process in a manner which certainly seems consistent with democratic norms.

To evoke a comparison with the USSR – where, for instance, several million Soviet “enemies of the state” died (due to overwork, starvation, torture or summary executions) after being sent, without trial, to Gulag camps spread out across the entire country – is beyond parody.

Indeed, it’s likely that the true identity of Beaumont’s unnamed commentators comparing Israel’s handling of the spy case to that of the most repressive totalitarian regimes of the 20th century will prove to be far more elusive and mysterious than the identity of Prisoner X himself.

How do you treat a lying, biased reporter? (No, this time we’re not referring to Mya Guarnieri)

This is cross posted from our good friend, Elder of Ziyon.

How do you treat a reporter who reports on things he couldn’t possibly have seen, ignores video evidence that disproves what he is reporting even though it is available before his article is published, writes a laughably biased article that is easily proven wrong, lies about easily verifiable facts and then brags about how he is, in fact, biased and writes with an agenda?

When his lies and bias are against Israel, you give him an award, of course!

JOURNALISTS from the Herald won six categories at this year’s Walkley Awards, which recognise Australia’s best journalism.

In the event’s 55th year the chief correspondent, Paul McGeough, won the award for the best print news report for his story ”Prayers, tear gas and terror”, which covered an attack by Israeli commandos on a flotilla of aid ships heading for Gaza. The judges praised McGeough for his courageous journalism and writing excellence and commended the story for its newsworthiness and degree of difficulty.

McKeough wrote in his prize-winning piece of fiction -oh, sorry, “journalism” – the IDF “hunted like hyenas” and that the attack was “timed for dawn prayers” and that “a lot of people moved in to shelter” the first Israeli commando on deck “with their bodies.” McKeough, who was not on the Mavi Marmara, must have interviewed Ken O’Keefe for his “facts.”

UPDATE: The Cook’s Cogitations blog illustrated this story: