The facts of what occurred in Cairo today are not in dispute. The Israeli ambassador to Egypt, his family, staff, and their families, were frantically evacuated by the Egyptian military after a large mob, numbering in the thousands, stormed the embassy in an attempt to tear down the compound’s security wall and break into the building.
After demonstrators penetrated the tower block housing the mission, some of the six-member staff on overnight security detail reportedly phoned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to explain that they feared for their lives and asked him to pass farewells to their families.
After appeals by Netanyahu to Cairo’s interim military rulers and the Obama administration, Egyptian security forces extracted the guards before dawn. Another Netanyahu aide said the Israelis’ heads were covered to throw off the crowds.
Israel had earlier sent a military plane to evacuate its ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, and about 80 staff and families. A second aircraft brought the six guards “safe and sound” to Israel, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
However, the manner in which the Guardian covered the incident speaks volumes about their seeming inability to frame any violence perpetrated against Israelis as anything other than an understandable response to Israeli villainy.
Their report, Israel evacuates ambassador to Egypt after embassy attack, David Batty, Guardian, Sept. 10 contextualized the violence by describing, as the source of mob anger, the six Egyptian security personnel killed in the crossfire which occurred as Israeli forces pursued the gunmen involved in the Aug. 18th terrorist attack near Eilat.
Batty failed to note that eight Israelis, including six civilians, were killed (and 40 injured) in the series of coordinated attacks launched from Gaza via the Sinai Peninsula.
Indeed, reports by both the IDF and the Egyptian army following the incident suggest that the IDF did everything in its power to prevent Egyptian troops from getting hurt during their pursuit of the terrorists. The IDF also found that at least three of the terrorists were Egyptian citizens.
The evidence also shows that contrary to Egyptian media reports, the IDF’s attack helicopters avoided hitting Egyptian military vehicles and troops stationed at the border, and that the troops intentionally diverted fire from the Egyptian all-terrain vehicles and soldiers towards open areas near the border base, from which the terrorist sniper fire originated.
The terrorists had positioned themselves a few dozen meters from the Egyptian military post before launching an RPG rocket at one of the helicopters, and directed machine gun fire at it.
The terrorists were also wearing uniforms similar to those of the Egyptian army.
Israel is reported to have photographic evidence that Maj.Gen. Tal Russo personally ordered the forces fighting on the ground and in the air to be careful not to hit the Egyptian military post and its soldiers.
Yet, the Egyptian press reported the deaths of Egyptian security officials without any context. Indeed, to the degree that the Egyptian media did cover the attacks on Israelis near Eilat, they were (as in the wider Arabic press) almost unanimous in justifying the attack – a moral justification also echoed by CiF contributor, Abdel al-Bari Atwan).
The Guardian’s report in some ways parroted the narrative of the Arab media – downplaying the original terrorist attack in Eilat which sparked the violence, and suggesting that the mob of Egyptians which threatened the lives of dozens of Israelis (and their families) stationed at the Embassy was merely a reaction to the Egyptian security personnel accidentally killed by IDF forces.
“The incident was the second major eruption of violence at the embassy since five Egyptian border guards were killed last month during an Israeli operation against gunmen.”
Note how, in typical Guardian speak, the “violence” simply “erupted”, rather than being perpetrated by individual Egyptians, possessing moral agency and acting violently out of their own volition.
And, note how Israel’s response to the series of brutal terrorist attacks on Aug. 18 near Eilat is characterized as an “Israeli operation against gunmen.”
Batty, providing even more legitimacy to the attack on Israel’s embassy, uncritically quotes Egyptian political analyst Nabil Abdel Fattah, who said:
“This action shows the state of anger and frustration the young Egyptian revolutionaries feel against Israel especially after the recent Israeli attacks on the Egyptian borders that led to the killing of Egyptian soldiers.”
So, now Israel’s battle with terrorists who killed innocent Israelis – including one RPG attack on a civilian vehicle which killed four Israelis, including two small children – is an “Israeli attack on the Egyptian borders.”
But, beyond the particulars of the terrorist attacks in Eilat, Batty’s report is classic Guardian – sparing no possible polemical obfuscation in the service of preventing the reader from reaching the most obvious conclusions about attack on Israel’s embassy: That a violent mob of thousands of angry Egyptians – who possess a hatred for Israel clearly nurtured by a culture imbued with antisemitism – attempted to destroy the Israeli embassy and would have, certainly, if the staff wasn’t evacuated, attacked the Israelis inside.
The following Sky News video of the attack includes a narrative which is also inexplicably sympathetic to the mob, but its worth viewing nonetheless. Listen to the Egyptian interviewed at the 2 minute mark, who nonchalantly tells the interviewer that those Israelis “killing his sisters and brothers” all must die.
The notion that the accidental killing of several Egyptian military personnel by the IDF somehow justifies attacking Israel’s diplomatic mission – or, at least makes the assault understandable – is simply surreal.
To put such a narrative in perspective, let’s jump back to the 9/11 attacks.
Following the attacks against the U.S. on 9/11, which left 3000 Americans dead, it was soon widely reported that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabian citizens.
If, let’s say, a mob of thousands of angry Americans, in the days after 9/11, stormed the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC and threatened Saudi diplomatic staff, do we really even have to wonder how the MSM, let alone the Guardian, would have covered the story? Is there any question that the theme most employed in reports and editorials about the event would have been of indefensible “mob violence”, “racism”, and/or American “vengeance” and “brutality”?
Well, such words accurately reflect the shameful attack on Israel’s embassy by an angry mob today in Cairo.
Today was dark day for Egypt. However, the proper moral lessons will not be learned by the nation’s political leaders, nor will there be any serious soul searching by its citizens, as the Egyptian press – as with the Guardian and, likely, most of the MSM – will continue to refrain from asking the important questions they would have certainly asked if the attack had occurred in a Western country against the embassy of a non-Western one.
No, this story by David Batty isn’t by any means the most egregious example of Guardian bias against Israel, but certainly serves as additional evidence that, to the Guardian, being an Israeli means you are presumed guilty, even if proven innocent.