CiF Watch prompts correction to Times of London Palestinian ‘bus ban’ claim

Yesterday, Oct. 29th, we posted about an article by Gregg Carlstrom in the Times of London which alleged that new Israeli Defense Ministry regulations would ban Palestinians from riding Israeli buses in the West Bank – a policy, it was suggested, reeked of ‘apartheid’.

We demonstrated that this claim was simply false.  

While the new regulations, if implemented, would require Palestinian laborers entering Israel through the Eyal checkpoint to head home at night through the same checkpoint from which they entered, thus resulting in a serious reduction in the number of Palestinians returning on Israeli bus lines, there’s nothing in the new rules even suggesting that Palestinians would no longer be allowed to ride Israeli lines.

Shortly after our post, we contacted editors at Times of London to complain about the false characterization of the new regulations, and today they issued the following correction in the online and print editions.

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Though the wording it still less than clear regarding the impact of the new regulations, we commend Times of London editors for the correction insofar as it informs readers that there is clearly no ban on Palestinians using Israeli buses.

Who’s more “far-right”, Yehuda Glick or the Palestinian who tried to murder him?

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian…ideologies, or profiles of armed Palestinian groups…Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate – Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont penned two articles today on the attempted murder of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.

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Snapshot of the Guardian’s Israel page, Oct. 30

Glick, who’s recovering from multiple bullet wounds at a Jerusalem hospital, was shot outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center by a Palestinian man from east Jerusalem named Mu’taz Hijazi, a former prisoner (for terror offenses) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member.

(PIJ  was formed by Palestinian extremists in Gaza during the 1970s and is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state through Jihad, and the creation of an Islamic state ‘from the river to the sea’.  The group was responsible for scores of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians – including large-scale suicide bombings.)

Hijazi was shot and killed by police today during an attempt to arrest him for the shooting.

Including the headlines, strap lines, photo captions and text, the term “far-right” was used seven times in reference to Glick in the two Guardian articles.  Though Beaumont alluded to the fact that Hijaz served time in an Israeli prison for “security” offenses, no similarly ideologically pejorative term was used to characterize him.  Nor was there any mention of his PIJ affiliation.

So, why is Glick described as a “far-right” rabbi? Well, according to Beaumont, he “is a prominent activist closely associated with recent efforts to gain more Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount”, and is closely associated with a group that seeks to rebuild a Jewish Temple on the general location at the Mount compound where the First and Second Temples stood.

Here’s Glick explaining his vision, which includes equal access to the Temple Mount compound for Muslims, Christians and Jews.

In an interview following his release from the prison, Hijazi said: “I’m glad to be back in Jerusalem. I hope to be a thorn in the Zionist plan of Judaizing Jerusalem”.

"Poster published in Palestinian Authority: "Fatah is proud of Muataz Hijazi"

“Poster published in Palestinian Authority: “Fatah is proud of Muataz Hijazi”

Here’s a clip of Rabbi Glick praying for peace with local Muslims “in the name of their shared ancestors on the Temple Mount”.

Yehuda Glick is most known for his campaign to allow Jews to merely pray at the Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism – and envisions a future where all three monotheistic religious peacefully share the site. 

Mu’taz Hijazi tried to kill an innocent Israeli civilian, is a convicted terrorist, and is affiliated with a violent, antisemitic extremist movement.

Which man is truly “far-right”? The campaigner for Jewish religious freedom at the Mount or the Palestinian who tried to murder him?

To those who don’t hold Palestinians to a lower standard of moral behavior than Jews – and indeed take them seriously as agents of their own fate – the answer should be obvious.

Times of London falsely reports apartheid-style “bus ban on Palestinians”

Despite what Times of London claims in an Oct. 28th story by Gregg Carlstrom, there is no ‘apartheid-style’ proposal by Israeli officials to ‘ban Palestinians from riding Israeli buses’.
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According to Haaretz (and other media sites which covered the story), the new security edict being proposed by the Defense Ministry would require Palestinian laborers who enter Israel through the Eyal checkpoint (mostly those heading to work in Tel Aviv or central Israeli towns) to head home at night through the same IDF checkpoints from which they entered.  Previously, on the return trip back into the West Bank, Palestinian workers were free to choose alternative routes which would allow them to get closer to their homes and with less delay – including those bus lines passing straight through checkpoints and stopping at settlements.

Reportedly, the new proposed rules would only apply to the Eyal checkpoint and not initialy apply to those entering at other crossings.

Also, note this official statement from the Israeli Defense Department, which Carlstrom didn’t include in his report:

A security official told Haaretz that the criticism was out of context. “There is no ban on taking buses with Israelis,” the official said. “The only thing that will happen is that laborers who are citizens of the Palestinian Authority will need to return through the same crossing they left so there will be supervision of entry and departure like in any sovereign country that protects itself and takes care to admit foreign residents into its territory in orderly fashion, through arranged crossings.”

Indeed, Carlstrom – unlike other sites which covered the story, including Haaretz – didn’t included even one statement from an Israeli official contradicting his characterization of the proposed new rule, or explaining its rationale.

It would be quite fair to say that the new policy, if implemented, would have the effect of making it extremely less likely that Palestinians in the West Bank entering Israel via Eyal will use Israeli bus lines to return from work in Israel. However, to state, as the Times of London article did, that Palestinians will be “banned” from Israeli bus lines is false.  No such rule has been proposed.

Indeed, whilst commentators can reasonably take issue with the new proposed rules, and the injurious impact it may have on Palestinian laborers, based on what’s been reported thus far there is no reason to believe that even one Palestinian will be denied service on Israeli bus lines – the necessary condition to claim that there’s a “ban”.

Economist deceives in citing partial quote by Israeli MK about the Temple Mount

Mount of Troubles‘, published in the print edition of The Economist on Oct. 18th, included the following claim (underlined in red):

economist

However, that sentence only includes part of what Feiglin said, and omits important context.
According to a report on Feiglin’s visit to the Mount by Israel National News, he was talking specifically about Sukkot, and protesting the police decision to ban Jews from visiting the site during that Jewish holiday – due to a recent surge in Arab riots and attacks on police and Jewish worshippers.
 
Here are the relevant passages.

Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin (Likud) attacked the Israeli police’s decision to close the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers on Sukkot.

Sukkot is one of the three Jewish pilgrimage holidays that in ancient times required Jews to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem – a practice maintained today.

The decision to bar Jewish worshippers comes following an onslaught of violent Arab riots against police and Jewish visitors to the mount.

“The person responsible for this is the Prime Minister (Binyamin Netanyahu). I call on the prime minister to order an immediate removal of all Muslims from the Temple Mount during Sukkot. This would allow Jews to visit freely and safely on the holiday.” 

Unless they have another source that we weren’t able to find, the passage in The Economist is extremely misleading as it fails to include a key part of the quote, as well as vital context about the scope and motivation of Feiglin’s demands.  He evidently was referring to visiting rights for Muslims during Sukkot, and only in reaction to the police decision to ban Jews during the holiday due to Muslim riots.

(Alternately, according to his Facebook page, Feiglin was even more narrowly calling for the removal of only Muslim rioters from the site.)

To be clear, Feiglin’s views regarding the Temple Mount (and many other issues) are in fact extreme and morally indefensible. Nonetheless, The Economist – as with all serious newspapers, magazine and journals – has the responsibility to report accurately on even those public figures their journalists don’t view sympathetically, or whose opinions they find offensive.

Toxic mix: The Guardian, British actress Miriam Margolyes and antisemitism

On Oct. 28th the Guardian published an article focusing on British actress Miriam Margolyes and her views on antisemitism and the recent war in Gaza. (Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes: Israel lets people vent antisemitism)

headlineThe Guardian quotes Margolyes from a recent interview on Radio Times thusly:

Actor Miriam Margolyes has criticised Israel for “allowing people” to vent prejudice against Jews, who she claimed: “I don’t think people like”.

The Harry Potter star, 73, who is Jewish, said there had been a “troubling backlash” against Jews following the recent, 50-day Gaza conflict.

She told the new issue of Radio Times: “I loathe Hamas, but they were democratically elected and Israel’s behaviour is not acceptable. There’s been a troubling backlash.”

The actress said: “I don’t think people like Jews. They never have. English literature, my great love, is full of greasy and treacherous Jews.

“I’m lucky they like me, and one always needs a Jewish accountant. Antisemitism is horrible and can’t be defended, but Israel is stupid for allowing people to vent it.”

While Margolyes predictably blames Israel for causing antisemitism, a brief look at the actress suggests a troubling blind spot about her own contribution to legitimizing such Jew hatred.

In addition to the fact that Margolyes supports the cultural boycott of Israel (and signed a letter, published in the Guardian in 2012, protesting the decision by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London to invite Israel’s National Theatre, Habima to perform The Merchant of Venice), she opposes the continued existence of a Jewish state and has participated in a reading of Seven Jewish Children, a play which vilifies Jews and Judaism.

As Anthony Julius observed:

In this play, Jews confess to lying to their own children and killing Palestinian children. They also confess to something close to a project of genocide. And they freely acknowledge the source of their misanthropy to be Judaism itself.

Additionally, Margolyes has suggested that Israeli treatment of Palestinians in Gaza was sub-human and morally comparable to the Nazi treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.

Margolyes also delivered a recorded speech to an extremist-affiliated anti-Israel rally in London in 2007, a gathering which included a speech by Ismail Haniyeh – political leader of Hamas, the antisemitic movement Margolyes claimed to “loathe”. 

In short, when you evoke Israel-Nazi analogies, participate in a play which vilifies Jews and Judaism and are willing to share a stage with the leader of an extremist movement that explicitly calls for the murder of Jews, you forfeit the assumption of good intentions when condemning the rise of antisemitism.

Jerusalem event: Israel, Hamas and media coverage of the war in Gaza

CAMERA public forum, “War By Other Means: Israel, Hamas and Media Coverage of Gaza”, will be held on Sunday November 9th at Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center.  The interactive panel discussion (to be hosted by Arnold Roth) will include CAMERA’s Israel Director Tamar Sternthal, Israeli columnist and author Ben-Dror Yemini, BBC Watch Managing Editor Hadar Sela, Professor Richard Landes and CAMERA Senior Researcher Gidon Shaviv.

We urge readers who are going to be in Jerusalem to attend.

Registration is necessary and can be done here.

war by other means

Guardian’s photo choice again illustrates their obsession with Israel

Even by the standards of the Guardian Left, George Monbiot represents an extreme example of those commentators who go beyond mere hostility to Israel and the United States, but, more broadly, seem to wake up in the morning convinced that reactionary jihadists are actually victims of the democratic (“imperialist”) West. 

Though his Oct. 21st op-ed in the Guardian is about the ‘duhumanising rhetoric’ used by political leaders to demonize and exploit vulnerable minority groups, he naturally avoids citing the most egregiously racist and violent Islamist extremist movements, instead citing – as examples of those who use dehumanising rhetoric to render people expendable – Israel, the UK and the United States.

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Indy buries story of murdered Jewish baby; focuses instead on briefly detained Palestinian boy

On Oct. 19th, per a video released by B’tselem, a Palestinian boy was arrested in Hebron for throwing stones at soldiers.  Fifteen minutes later, the soldiers released the boy after his father arrived and explained that he was mentally disabled.

On Oct. 22nd, a Palestinian Hamas supporter (Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, from the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem) with a history of antisemitic violence, rammed his car into pedestrians standing a light rail platform in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a 3 month old baby (Chaya Zissel Braun) and injuring others.

If you were the editor of a major British daily, which story would you be more likely to highlight?

Well, evidently editors at the Independent decided that the story of a briefly detained Palestinian stone thrower was of greater importance than the terrorist murder of a Jewish infant.  

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When Jews moving into non-Jewish neighborhoods elicits progressive scorn

photoImagine if Jerusalem authorities forbade Palestinians (those with permanent Israeli residency) from moving into Jewish neighborhoods in west Jerusalem, citing the need to protect the delicate demographic balance of the capital, and keep such neighborhoods entirely Jewish.

Is it even conceivable that journalists and commentators in the UK media would be critical of such Palestinians who decided to legally buy property and move into such Jewish neighborhoods?

Whilst the answer to this question should be obvious, it’s worth noting the furious reaction in 2010 when a few dozen racist rabbis issued a meaningless and unenforceable “religious ruling” forbidding Jews from selling land to Arabs – a ruling widely condemned as racist and illegal by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum.  One Guardian contributor even prophesized in the rabbinical ruling nothing less than a rising tide of religious fascism sweeping the country, and an ominous moral decline which “strikes at the soul of Judaism”.  

Yet, when Palestinians wish to keep predominately Arab neighborhoods ethnically pure, and free of any Jewish presence whatsoever, the coverage is much different.

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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.

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Financial Times misleads with partial quote by William Hague about ‘Palestine’

A Financial Times article by Philip Stephens, Israel is losing its friends in the world (Oct. 16), included the following passage in support of the broader thesis suggesting strong UK political support for recognizing ‘Palestine’ as a state, and dismissing Israeli concerns over statehood recognition outside the context of negotiations.

The Israeli argument, echoed as it was by a handful of supportive MPs, is that the process of recognising Palestine as a state, which began in the UN general assembly two years ago, is a brake on peace. Statehood is a prize to be “earned”. To concede it now would be to reduce the pressure for Palestinians to make tough compromises.

There was never great logic in this. As several MPs pointed out, the formulation offers Israel an extraordinary veto over the choices of other sovereign states. Even if this once made tactical sense, the proposition has been robbed of reason by Mr Netanyahu: Palestinians cannot be denied statehood because of Israel’s intransigence.

On Palestinian statehood, [Jack] Straw quoted the words in 2011 of William Hague, then Mr Cameron’s foreign secretary: “The UK judges that the Palestinian Authority largely fulfils the criteria for UN membership, including statehood.”

However, the Hague quote cite by the Financial Times is only a partial one. 

Here’s the full passage from Hague’s statement to Parliament on November 9th, 2011, explaining his government’s decision to abstain on a vote in the UN on recognizing Palestine as a state with full membership.

“The UK judges that the Palestinian Authority largely fulfils criteria for UN membership, including statehood as far as the reality of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories allows, but its ability to function effectively as a State would be impeded by that situation. A negotiated end to the occupation is the best way to allow Palestinian aspirations to be met in reality and on the ground.”

The Financial Times clearly left out a key passage, where Hague expresses his government’s view that prematurely recognizing ‘Palestine’ before a negotiated agreement is reached would impede the new state’s ability to “function effectively as a State”.

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Why does the Economist treat Palestinian rioters like children?

The media script about rioting at the Temple Mount is as predictable as it is dishonest.

When religious Jews peacefully walk around the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism), and even honor the prohibition against non-Muslim prayer on the site, they are still nonetheless often characterized in the UK media as ‘Jewish radicals’ engaged an inherently provocative act. Conversely, Muslims who riot and attack Jewish worshippers and Israeli Police – in order to “defend the mosque” – are typically framed by the media, at least implicitly, as pious worshippers incited to violence by the presence of Jewish extremists. 

The latest example of this UK media narrative – informed by the refusal of British opinion leaders to take Palestinians seriously as agents of their own fate – comes to us courtesy of the Economist, in an article titled ‘A mount of troubles: Jewish radicals are upsetting the fragile religious balance in the holy city, Oct. 18th. 

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Shlomo Sand’s sickening Guardian article slams both Israel and Judaism.

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By Richard Millett.

There are times when something is so obviously wrong that it shouldn’t even need pointing out. That the Guardian thinks there is no problem promoting someone who wants to “resign” from Judaism shows how little respect its editors have for Judaism.

Last Saturday the Guardian allowed Shlomo Sand, a Tel Aviv university professor, to write a lengthy piece in its pages about how he has had enough of being Jewish (see above).

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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. 

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Guardian fails to report antisemitic comment by Tory MP

Last night in London, British lawmakers passed a non-binding resolution recommending that the “Government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”  

While the most morally obtuse comment during the debate belongs to Sir Richard Ottaway, who said that Israel’s “annexation” [sic] of 950 acres of the West Bank outraged him “more than anything else” in his political life – suggesting that terror attacks by Islamists on Western civilians, mass slaughter and systemic repression of human rights in the Mid-East come are less outrageous than the ‘horror’ of potential Israeli homes on a small stretch of land near the green line – another MP’s comments represented an altogether different level of political pathos.

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