Times of London barely ‘revises’ headline about law which WON’T make Arabs 2nd class citizens

timesUnder any version of a ‘Jewish nation-state bill’ which may eventually be voted on in the Israeli Knesset, one thing is certain: Arab citizens of the state would NOT become “second class citizens”.  

Whilst efforts by the government to formally codify Israel as the “Jewish nation-state” have been the object of some serious criticism by thoughtful observers, we’ve yet to see one critic explain how the bill which Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to approve on Sunday would even minimally erode the civil rights of Israel’s non-Jewish minority. 

Yet, as we’ve noted in three posts over the last two days, Times of London editors chose headlines for a Nov. 24th article by Gregg Carlstrom, another article on the same day by Catherine Philp, and a print edition version of Carlstrom’s report which all grossly mischaracterized the proposed bill based merely on the hyperbolic criticism of a few critics.  

(You can read an excellent backgrounder on the legislation by Haviv Rettig Gur at Times of Israel, here)

After multiple complaints to Times of London, we received the following reply explaining the “revisions” to the articles:

The headline on the first had “second-class citizens” put into quotation marks – “Israel set to make Arabs ‘second-class citizens’” – to make clear that this was a point of view expressed in the story…The second headline was similarly edited: “Israel wavers on ‘2nd-class Arabs’ law”.

So, this original headline…

orig

…was ‘revised” to this:

revised

The same minor tweak – simply placing quotes around the words “second class citizens” – was made to the other headline (for the Catherine Philps article) as well.

We feel it’s an insufficient change to a scare headline which plays into the shameful ‘apartheid’ charge – a smear more befitting the Guardian than the Times of London, whose coverage of Israel is generally the fairest among the mainstream, serious newspapers in the UK.

Times of London again falsely alleges Israeli bill will make Arabs 2nd class citizens

As we noted in two posts yesterday, Times of London editors chose a headline for a Nov. 24th article by Gregg Carlstrom which mischaracterized a proposed bill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people” as one which would make Arabs “second class citizens”.

The article with the erroneous headline – based merely on a characterization of the proposed bill by some critics – appeared in the print and online editions of the paper.

print

Times of London print edition, Nov. 24

 

It was also the featured story on the Times of London home page last night.

lead-story

Today, Times of London again misled readers by using a similar headline conflating opinion with fact, in a new article by Catherine Philp.

 

philp

Times of London, Nov. 25

 

Further, under the “Latest News” tab on today’s home page of their site, they again use the erroneous headline.

Recent News

Times of London home page, Nov. 25

 

As we noted previously, under two versions of the bill Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to approve on Sunday, the law – which would need to be approved by the full Knesset – would establish “national rights” for the Jewish people (such as the right of Jews to immigrate to Israel), while maintaining “equal individual rights for all citizens” regardless of religion.

(It’s notable that the Guardian was much more careful in editing Peter Beaumont’s article on the proposed bill, using the accurate headline: ‘Israeli cabinet approves legislation defining nation-state of Jewish people’.)

The Times of London headline appears to be a violation of the accuracy clause of the (UK) Editor’s Code, which demands that the press “must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”, and we’ll update you when their editors respond to our complaint.

Times of London claims (as fact) Israeli bill will ‘make Arabs 2nd-class citizens’

In early August, amidst the fighting in Gaza, we demonstrated that a headline used by Times of London editors in an article by Gregg Carlstrom included a charge – that Israel “admitted” to violating a truce with Hamas – which wasn’t accurate, and (just as importantly) wasn’t even minimally supported by the subsequent text.  

Following our communication with newspaper editors, they eventually revised the headline accordingly.

Today, editors again chose a headline for an article by Carlstrom which leveled a charge not supported by the text, and which mischaracterizes a proposed bill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”.

headline

In fact, the article actually notes that – under the version of a bill Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to approve on Sunday – “equal individual rights for every citizen” will reportedly continue to be protected, and that the law is specifically designed to establish “national rights” for the Jewish people, such as the right of every Jew to immigrate to Israel. 

In fairness, it was reported on other new sites that a few opposition voices in Israel’s Knesset claimed the bill would have the effect of turning Arab Israelis into “second class citizens”, and the term was used in the article by Carlstrom in the sentence in bold below:

Mr Lapid, who heads the centrist Yesh Atid party, called it “a bad law, which is badly worded”. After voting against the bill, his faction held an emergency meeting to discuss further steps.Mr Lapid said that the bill would alienate Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up about 20 per cent of the population. They enjoy equal rights under the law, but in practice have long been subject to discrimination.Last week the mayor of Ashkelon tried to ban Palestinian construction workers from schools, a move met with derision. “This morning I spoke with the family of Zidan Saif,” Mr Lapid said, referring to a police officer from the Druze sect who was killed in a shootout with the synagogue attackers. “What can we say to this family? That he is a second-class citizen?”

However, if the sub editor responsible for the headline extracted the “second class citizen” charge from the comment by Lapid, it’s highly misleading to readers.  An accurate headline can not pass off as fact – without quotes or some other qualifier – an accusation which is only claimed by some. (Note that the Accuracy clause of the UK Editor’s Code demands that the Press “must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”.)

We have contacted Times of London editors to request a revision of the headline, and will update you when we receive a reply.

Indy buries the lead on Arab Jerusalemite support for synagogue massacre

The mayor of Ashkelon is already backtracking, after rightfully coming under fire from politicians across the political spectrum, from his pledge to fire Arab workers installing bomb shelters in city kindergartens.  Mayor Itamar Shimoni, who issued the threat after Tuesday’s deadly terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, admitted his decision was “disproportionate”, and that he has agreed to allow Arab laborers to continue working at the sites.

unnamed (1)

Cover of Israel newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth the day following the synagogue massacre

 

Though Ben Lynfield’s report on the row in The Independent, titled, ‘Synagogue attack: Israeli mayor accused of racism after suspending 30 Arab workers for ‘security’ reasons‘, was straight forward enough, there was an extraordinary sentence buried without comment in the second paragraph:

The step by Itamar Shimoni, mayor of the coastal city of Ashkelon, comes after a wave of attacks, mostly in Jerusalem, triggered largely by the Palestinian perception of an Israeli threat to al-Aqsa mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. The synagogue assailants are widely viewed in Arab East Jerusalem as “martyrs” who acted in defence of the mosque. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will not make changes in the mosque compound, sacred to Jews as the Temple Mount. But provocative visits by right-wing Israeli politicians have more weight in Arab eyes than the premier’s declarations.

 Is this an accurate statement by Lynfield? Do Arabs in east Jerusalem – most of whom are permanent Israeli residents – support the Palestinian terrorists who butchered innocent Jews (while they were at prayer at synagogue) with axes and knives?

If such a perverse, morally indefensible view is indeed held by a large segment of “Arab East Jerusalem”, let us humbly suggest to the Indy that perhaps such a disturbing phenomena might be of greater news value in the context of helping readers understand the region than the short-lived racist pronouncement of one solitary mayor. 

CiF Watch prompts correction to false claim that Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site

ww2An Oct. 23, 2013 story in The Telegraph by Dina Rickman titled ‘Meet the Women of the Wall: Israel’s answer to Pussy Riot included the claim that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism. 

Later that day, we contacted Telegraph editors and alerted them to the mistake.

We demonstrated that the Temple Mount (where the First and Second Temples stood) is in fact the holiest site in Judaism, while the Western Wall (The Kotel) is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently permitted to pray.  We forwarded them information relating to other news sites which corrected their original false claims about the Western Wall (many of which were prompted by communications with CAMERA), as well as a 2008 BBC correction to their false claim.

Telegraph editors responded positively to our complaint, informing us that they had corrected the piece accordingly, noting that the Western Wall is merely “the holiest site in the Jewish world where Jews are permitted to pray”.

Unfortunately, The Telegraph published an article just yesterday with another false claim about the the Western Wall.

A Nov. 18th article by Rob Pinfold (titled “Synagogue axe attack: why has violence surged in Jerusalem?) included the following sentence:

before

Original passage in The Telegraph article, via a snapshot from Google

 

We contacted Telegraph editors today to alert them to the error, and they quite admirably revised the passage to again more accurately reflect the status of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. 

Here’s the revised passage:

after

It’s important to stress that the religious significance of the Temple Mount represents more than a mere detail in the context of UK media reporting on the current Palestinian violence.  

As we’ve noted previously, not only have some foreign journalists covering the situation in Jerusalem been imputing extremism to Jews who peacefully campaign for the right to pray at the Temple Mount, but there is occasionally even the suggestion that such religious Jews are ‘provocatively’ encroaching on a purely Muslim holy site.  Thus, some readers may be left with the impression that recent Palestinian violence can at least partly be explained as an (understandable) reaction to this encroachment on ‘their’ sacred site. 

Exposing and combating such falsehoods about ‘root causes’ of violence in the region represents one of the primary objectives of this blog. 

Economist refers to Jews wanting to pray at the Temple Mount as “militants”

In a great example of the media’s use of language to blur moral differences within the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, The Economist expanded the common understanding of the word “militant” – a word fancied by those fearing “terrorist” is too judgmental a term for those committing violence for political ends – to include Jews wanting to peacefully pray at Judaism’s holiest site.

pic

From left to right per The Economist: Palestinian militants, and Jewish militants

An article published on Nov. 17th titled ‘The trouble at the Mountincluded the following passage:

THE Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one of the world’s most explosive bits of real-estate. It has started to rumble again in recent weeks, with demands by Jewish militants to extend prayer rights, riots by Palestinians and the killing of several Israelis in knife or car-ramming attacks.

Continue reading

CiF Watch suggestions for Palestinians who want to ‘ease tensions’ in Jerusalem

Though Benjamin Netanyahu, John Kerry and Jordan’s King Abdullah met recently to address the “recent surge of violence in Jerusalem”, the herds of independent minds in the UK media have essentially settled on a narrative to explain the “tension” in the holy city: that demands by some Jews for prayer rights at the Temple Mount incite Palestinians, thus increasing tension and violence. 

Whilst even beyond the UK media, most opinion leaders have narrowly focused on what Israeli leaders can do to calm the situation in Jerusalem and prevent an escalation, we here at CiF Watch tend to fancy the progressive notion that Palestinians possess moral agency, and therefore have a role to play in any plan to address rising tensions. 

So, inspired by a recent post at a site known for its decidedly unconventional take on the news, here’s our list of ways Palestinians can “ease the tension” in Jerusalem.

Continue reading

The Guardian misrepresents Netanyahu’s comments on rioters

A Nov. 9th article by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Peter Beaumont, on recent Arab protests in response to the deadly police shooting of a man in the Galilee town of Kufr Kana (Violence spreads across Israel after shooting in Galilee, Nov. 11) included a clear distortion of recent comments by Israel’s prime minister.

Here are the relevant passages from Beaumont’s report:

Amid calls for protests in Israeli Arab towns and a general strike, Israeli police raised their alert to the second highest level of preparedness. The police’s internal investigations department is looking into the shooting to determine whether proper protocol was followed.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in comments before the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, said he has ordered officials to examine whether citizenship could be removed from those participating in demonstrations.

However, as official transcripts from Netanyahu’s cabinet meeting clearly indicate, he was asking to examine whether citizenship could be removed from those specifically calling for the destruction of Israel.

cabinet

Beaumont’s text, regarding who precisely Netanyahu was referring to when he spoke of ‘revoking citizenship’, would lead readers to believe that the prime minister of Israel is seeking a draconian response to those merely participating in benign “demonstrations”  –  a significant mischaracterization of his cabinet meeting remarks. 

Guardian claims Israeli officials dismiss European critics as “Nazi-hugging antisemites”

Do Israeli officials or those closest to Binyamin Netanyahu dismiss European critics of Israel as “Nazi-hugging antisemites”?  

The Guardian makes such a claim in an analysis (MPs’ vote on Palestine state recognition is part of growing international trend, Oct. 13) co-written by their Middle East editor Ian Black and Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont.

Continue reading

Does Guardian journo Nicholas Watt believe Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital?

An October 14th report by Guardian chief political correspondent Nicholas Watt (Alan Duncan to condemn Israeli settlements in blistering speech) included this passage:

In one of the strongest attacks on the government of Binyamin Netanyahu by a frontline UK politician, Duncan will criticise Tel Aviv for its “reprehensible” behaviour in encouraging and supporting the creation of “illegal colonies”.

It is unclear who in Tel Aviv Duncan will be criticising, as Jerusalem is of course the Israeli capital. 

Continue reading

“Neo-Nazi” does warm up act for anti-Israel author Max Blumenthal.

This is a cross-post by Richard Millett.

Dedicated anti-Israel polemicist Max Blumenthal came to Britain’s parliament  on Thursday and claimed that Israeli society was dominated by neo-Nazi mobs and Israeli politics by racist politicians. The irony being that, unless I was mistaken, one of the speeches just before Blumenthal’s talk was delivered by James Thring (see photos below).

Continue reading

Independent posts reflections of witty Brit who likens Israel to ‘child murdering community’

Since the start of Israel’s war with Hamas, the Independent has been competing with the Guardian to see who can most effectively demonize the Jewish state while excusing or ignoring the reactionary Islamist group running Gaza.  And, though today’s commentary in the Indy may not represent the defining contribution in this race to the moral bottom, it should at least be noted in the category of great achievements in modern manifestations of ancient anti-Jewish calumnies.

Leave it to Mark Steel, a commentator and comedian, to even outdo fellow British comedian cum anti-Israel activist Alexei Sayle – who had compared Israel to a child rapist, in a video highlighted by both the Indy and Guardian – in an op-ed titled ‘How silly of me to assume it was Israeli bombs causing all the damage in Gaza.

Here’s Steel’s attempt at mockery, likening Israelis to a community of child murderers.

In recent years most of humanity has become more tolerant of groups who once seemed to be on the margins of society. But until now it’s still been acceptable to be offensive about one minority: the child murdering community.

At last it seems the mood is changing, and finally we’re beginning to hear the child murderers’ point of view.

Steel, again evoking the Israeli child murderer theme, mocks Israeli ‘claims’ that Hamas uses Palestinian non-combatants, including children, as human shields to protect their fighters and to score PR victories by the resulting civilian casualties – a strategy that Hamas spokesmen (and some  journalists in Gaza) have openly acknowledged.

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out for child murderers’ civil rights by informing us the Palestinians deliberately arrange the “telegenically dead” to be filmed, to attract sympathy. So it seems Hamas stroll round bomb sites, placing the prettiest corpses on view for film crews, otherwise we’d all think “it doesn’t matter that the Israelis killed that kid, he was an ugly little bastard anyway”.

Steele then alludes to Israeli ‘ethnic cleansing’.

As the bombing continues I expect we’ll hear more reasons why the Palestinians are to blame for being bombed. An Israeli minister will say, “These people in Gaza are always complaining that they live in a densely populated area, so we’re trying to help them out by reducing the population as much as we can to give them more space. But they’re still not happy. Some people are never satisfied.”

In this passage, Steele actually seems to suggest that there is a dearth of inflammatory headlines about Palestinian suffering in the media.

In less enlightened times, those responsible for such murder would be snarled at in the street and their pictures displayed on newspapers under inflammatory headlines. But thankfully we’re growing more liberal, and can only regret that more thought wasn’t given to treating murderers kindly in the past.

Steele then evokes the crimes of Fred West, the British serial killer who, over a span of twenty or so  years, tortured and raped scores of young women and girls.

Poor Fred West, for example, instead of barely being given a chance to make his case, could have sat in television studios saying, “Of course I regret the deaths of civilians. But you have to understand these people I murdered could be a bloody nuisance. I was lured into killing them, and I’m not even sure I did kill them until I’ve carried out my own investigation. Some of them kill themselves to get sympathy by booby-trapping their ironing boards, you know

Steele finishes with the following flourish, evidently incredulous in the face of widespread evidence that Hamas uses mosques, schools and clinics to hide rockets and other military hardware.

As times change, maybe Netanyahu and his spokesmen will become more forthright, and organise “Child Murderer Pride” in which child murderers can get together for a procession and carnival, where they can at last feel safe, and no longer feel looked down on for carrying out their basic human right to bomb a school to bits.

Though I must admit to at times being tone-deaf to British humour, I have enough experience deciphering the musings of the pseudo ‘sophisticated’ liberal left in the UK to deduce that the witty Brit who penned the Indy column honestly believes that political and military leaders of the Jewish State – perhaps just for kicks, or maybe motivated by some sadistic homicidal fantasy – intentionally murders innocent children.

No doubt it was lost on Steel – who evidently sees nothing to remotely offensive, yet alone mockable, in calls by Hamas’s religious and political leaders to literally exterminate the Jews  – that his meme regarding ‘Jewish blood lust’ comports perfectly with a decidedly medieval element of the Palestinian Islamist group’s historically familiar propaganda campaign.

CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction to anti-Bibi smear by Chris McGreal

On Aug. 1st we fisked the claim in the following Tweet (on July 22) by Guardian reporter Chris McGreal

McGreal actually doubled-down on the Tweet’s suggestion – that the Israeli conflict against Hamas is, in fact, a racist war designed simply to murder Arabs – in his July 31st Guardian article titled ‘American media’s new pro-Israel bias: the same party line at the wrong time.

His column began thusly:

Here are a few questions you won’t hear asked of the parade of Israeli officials crossing US television screens during the current crisis in Gaza:

  • What would you do if a foreign country was occupying your land?
  • What does it mean that Israeli cabinet ministers deny Palestine’s right to exist?
  • What should we make of a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who as opposition leader in the 1990s was found addressing rallies under a banner reading “Death to Arabs”?

However, after a modest amount of research – evidently more than McGreal put into his own column – we were able to establish that the banner in question, at a right-wing rally in Jerusalem in 1994, did not read ‘Death to Arabs’ but, rather, death to the father of modern terror – Yasser Arafat.

After contacting Guardian editors, they acknowledged McGreal’s error, revised the passage in question and added the following addendum to the article:

revision

We commend Guardian editors for their positive response to our complaint. 

 

Chris McGreal: The worst Guardian journalist

This blog has consistently demonstrated the journalistic malice of Guardian reporter Chris McGreal - a reporter so hostile to Israel that he all but accused IDF soldiers of deliberately murdering innocent Palestinian children. He’s also achieved the rare distinction of being singled out by the CST (the British charity tasked with protecting British’s Jewish community) in their 2011 report on antisemitic discourse.

So, while the tone of the following Tweet (on July 22) by McGreal didn’t surprise us, the wild nature of his claim inspired us to take a brief look at the issue he addressed.

Interestingly, the claim in the tweet – that the Israeli Prime Minister once led a rally under the banner “death to Arabs”, and the broader argument that this wish to kill Arabs motivated his decision to attack Hamas in early July, was repeated in a July 31st Guardian op-ed by McGreal titled American media’s new pro-Israel bias: the same party line at the wrong time‘.

His op-ed begins thusly:

Here are a few questions you won’t hear asked of the parade of Israeli officials crossing US television screens during the current crisis in Gaza:

  • What would you do if a foreign country was occupying your land?
  • What does it mean that Israeli cabinet ministers deny Palestine’s right to exist?
  • What should we make of a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who as opposition leader in the 1990s was found addressing rallies under a banner reading “Death to Arabs”?

McGreal’s proposed questions were meant to serve as a contrast to what he believed to be softball questions ask by US reporters of Israeli officials during the current war.

Leaving aside McGreal’s specious claim that the US media isn’t critical enough of Israel, the reason why reporters haven’t asked Israeli officials about the rally in July 1994 where Bibi allegedly spoke under a banner reading “Death to Arabs” is is because the banner in question didn’t actually say that.

First, while you can watch the full video (which McGreal embedded in this Tweet) here to see for yourself, here’s a snapshot of the frame which captures the banner under which Bibi (then the opposition leader) addressed the crowd.

bibi

The banner, at this anti-Yasser Arafat rally, reads, in Hebrew, “Death to the master murderer“, referring of course to Arafat, and the English to the right (though admittedly unclear) reads, based on multiple media reports at the time, “Death to Arafat“. It didn’t read, as McGreal claims, “Death to Arabs”, but “Death to Arafat” – the Palestinian leader dubbed the father of modern terror due to his role in scores of deadly Palestinian attacks on Israeli civilians. (Indeed, Arafat’s war on Israeli mean, women and children continued in the 90s and early 2000s’, even after the Oslo Agreement) 

Here’s a passage from the Chicago Tribune on July 4, 1994:

The visit of the man of blood, Arafat, to the State of Israel, paraded and protected by hundreds of Israeli policemen and soldiers, is the height of the absurd and degrading show that we have witnessed in this past year,” said keynote speaker Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the opposition Likud Party. He spoke from a podium decked with a banner that read “Death to Arafat.”

Here’s a passage from the Philadelphia Inquirer on July 4, 1994.

Scores of police collected at the fringes of the Israel rally, while Orthodox Jewish men in black hats and knit yarmulkes and women in head coverings shouted anti-government slogans. They carried placards caricaturing Rabin – even setting at least one afire – and draped banners, like that screamingDeath to Arafat.

Here’s a passage from The Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 4th, 1994, referring to the Hebrew section of the banner:

He spoke from a second-floor balcony draped with a banner reading: “Death to the Master Murderer”.

Here’s a passage from the Seattle Times on July 4, 1994, again referring to the Hebrew section of the banner.

He spoke from a second-floor balcony draped with a banner reading,Death to the master murderer.” Usually leaders of the mainstream opposition party distance themselves from such belligerent slogans.

Finally, it’s of course true that the rally in question included some truly hateful chants and placards, and Netanyahu’s decision 20 years ago to speak at the rally should be criticized.  However, that’s not the point.  McGreal erroneously claimed in his Tweet (and Guardian op-ed) that Bibi spoke above a banner which read “Death to Arabs“, to which he added in his Tweet: “Now he’s making it come true“.  

McGreal was imputing homicidal racist motivations to Netanyahu’s decision to launch a war against Hamas – a smear of the Israeli Prime Minister which was based on a total lie.

CiF Watch prompts 3rd correction over false claims that murdered Israeli teens were ‘settlers’

Since Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were abducted and murdered by Palestinian terrorists last month, we’ve prompted two corrections to false claims (at the Independent and the Guardian) that the three teens were ‘settlers’. 

More recently, we contacted Indy editors about the following passage in an op-ed at the paper by the British-Israeli anti-Zionist historian (and Guardian contributor) Avi Shlaim.

Here’s the original:

He [Netanyahu] used the abduction of three young Jewish settlers on the West Bank as an excuse for a violent crackdown on Hamas supporters…

Recently, Indy editors once again agreed to correct the erroneous characterization of the three murdered boys, and the passage now reads:

He used the abduction of three Jewish teenagers on the West Bank as an excuse for a violent crackdown on Hamas supporters

We commend Indy editors for correcting Shlaim’s false claim.