CiF Watch prompts improved Indy headline in story of murdered Palestinian

Earlier, we came across an Indy headline in a report about the Palestinian riots taking place in east Jerusalem over the death of a Palestinian teen who many believe may have been the victim of a revenge attack. (Note, Elder of Ziyon and Harry’s Place also posted on this earlier.)

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We then emailed Indy editors to ask about the strange wording.  Specifically, we asked if the first three words (Israel murdered teenagers) indicate the topic of the article, as in “regarding the murdered Israeli teenagers…”, or, rather, if it was supposed to support the theory that the Palestinian teen in question – 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir – was in fact murdered by an Israeli in a nationalist attack.

An Indy editor replied and told us that it was meant to convey the former, and wasn’t intended to suggest that the Palestinian was definitely killed in a revenge attack by an Israeli. 

Then, Elder noted that that they tweaked the headline to this, merely changing “Israel” to “Israeli”, and making it equally unclear.

israeli

More recently, they changed it again, to something more understandable. 

new change

Whilst UK media coverage of the Palestinian teen’s death has thus far been extremely one-sided in embracing the yet unproven theory that he was murdered in revenge, we’re at least glad that the Indy headline in question no longer suggests that this is a proven fact. 

Update: Harry’s Place also contacted Indy editors over the original headline.

Sally Idwedar ‘forgets’ to mention the H-word in her Indy essay on “life in Gaza”

Sally Idwedar is just your average girl living in Gaza.  

sally

She’s also a blogger who, at some point in her life, acted “on impulse”, quit her corporate job in Washington D.C. and made “Aliyah” to Gaza to start her life anew. 

Idwedar also just published an essay at The Independent describing life in the Palestinian controlled territory. 

life

Her polemic on the difficulties of life in the Strip as the result of Israeli villainy includes the following passages:

I was thinking about how I would start to write about life in Gaza – how I would lay the words out with eloquence – when suddenly an explosion boomed close by and those thoughts fled my mind.I didn’t know the source; maybe it was internal training or perhaps another air strike.

The UN issued a report last week saying Gaza is becoming uninhabitable and the humanitarian conditions are deteriorating – sadly that is true.

Two weeks ago the sewage pumping stations stopped working in many areas – they simply did not have the fuel to work. Raw sewage leaks into the streets. Fathers carry their children to get to school and most cars won’t venture into it. The sludge reeks and brings mosquitoes in swarms.

There is fear it will end up in the water supply as well…

..

This is life in Gaza now: a constant struggle to find the bare necessities.

As Elder of Ziyon observed today in his post on Idwedar’s ‘meditation’, she oddly doesn’t use the word “Hamas” even once.  

This omission is even more glaring in light of her own Twitter battle with Richard “faux scoop” Silverstein (richards1052) in October (as noted by the blog Israellycool) where she was much less reticent about using the ‘H-word’.  Indeed, Idwedar’s exchange with the evidently pro-Hamas Jewish blogger is especially revealing in light of her complaint about Gaza sewage noted above.  

Who needs to take action?

Who could import needed parts?

Finally, just in case there’s any doubt as to who precisely she’s criticizing:

Yet, for some reason, Idwedar indeed “tried to hide” her opposition to the Islamist group in her more than 1100 word first person account of the “constant struggle to find the bare necessities” in Gaza.

I simply can’t imagine why.

No reports of Jewish riots after grossly antisemitic show begins airing on Arab TV

The streets of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and every other city throughout Israel – and in communities outside of Israel with large Jewish communities – were calm over Shabbat despite the decision by several Arab TV satellite channels to begin airing an antisemitic mini-series during Ramadan called “Khaybar.”  The program reportedly demonizes Jews, who are depicted as immutably “treacherous” and the “enemies of Islam” who “can’t be trusted”.

The series – produced by a Qatari media company and currently being aired in Dubai, Egypt, Algeria, Qatar and UAE – is described by the screenwriter and the film’s actors as simply demonstrating that “The Jews are the Jews…and still act according to their nature and corrupt any society in which they live.”

Though a prominent pro-Israel blogger, Elder of Ziyon, initiated a passionate campaign to draw attention to the series, the act of racist incitement has been ignored by major human rights organizations – characteristic of the silence by such self-described “humanitarian” groups in the face of poisonous anti-Jewish animus which is commonplace throughout Arab and Muslim countries.

Additionally, whilst the Guardian published over 100 reports and commentaries after the Muhammad cartoons controversy in 2005, and a similarly large volume of stories on the row last year over a brief trailer for an anti-Islamic film posted on YouTube called ‘Innocence of Muslims’, there has been nothing published at the Guardian or ‘Comment is Free’ about Khaybar.

Further, in contrast to the eruption of riots and violence over the Muhammad cartoons, which led to death threats against the cartoonists and riots in cities across the world resulting in over 200 people dead, and the reaction to the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’, which led to hundreds of injuries and over 50 deaths, there have been no reports of Jewish riots in reaction to the hideously antisemitic Khaybar broadcast.

While the narrow issue of the Guardian’s decision not to inform readers about an antisemitic TV series which will potentially be seen by tens of millions of Arab viewers  is important – representing one example of their wider failure to report even the most extreme examples of antisemitic incitement within the larger Arab world – there is another important angle to this story worth exploring.

My observation regarding the dearth of anything resembling violence by Jews over the racist Arab series was not meant to be at all cheeky, but rather was an attempt to illustrate the absurdity of the ubiquitous refrain from Guardian Left commentators that the Israel lobby ‘intimidates’ elected representatives, exercises undue influence over the media and stifles debate over issues of concern to the Jewish community.  

Whilst organized Jewry, and pro-Israel commentators, certainly use the power of the pen, lobby their representatives and use every other legitimate democratic means available to advocate for Israel and campaign against antisemitism, newspaper cartoonists who run afoul of ‘the lobby’ do not receive death threats from AIPAC; commentators who engage in antisemitic tropes don’t have to go in hiding for fear of retribution by philo-Semitic bloggers; and ‘spontaneous’ acts of mass Jewish violence do not erupt on the streets of Paris, London, New York, or Jerusalem when the religious sensibilities of Jews are offended.

Though it is of course true that the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t resort to violence in response to cartoons, films or commentaries deemed offensive to Islam, the small minority who do engage in such anti-social and destructive behavior clearly create a chilling effect on Western journalists and opinion leaders – anti-democratic bullying and intimidation which simply has no parallel within the Zionist community.

The Israeli Bedouin issue beyond The Telegraph’s sensationalist headline

Phoebe Greenwood’s report in The Telegraph, Ex-South African Israel ambassador likens Bedouin treatment to Apartheid‘, June 19, is in many ways quite typical of mainstream media framing of issues relating to the nomadic Arab tribes living in the Negev region in Israel. Though Greenwood balances the sensationalist charge of ‘apartheid’ leveled by the the former ambassador with a response by a foreign ministry spokesperson, the title and text legitimize an extremely misleading narrative about the remarkably complex interplay between the Israeli government and the Bedouin.

Whilst my colleague Hadar Sela has done some superb reporting on the issue (which you can read here, here and here), blogger Elder of Ziyon recently filmed and narrated a very informative video on the subject – while on location in the Negev – that succinctly explains a few of the more vexing challenges faced by the Israeli government in determining how best to deal with unauthorized villages established by citizens who are part of this itinerant culture. 

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How the British media have covered news regarding Omar Misharawi’s death

newspapers2We recently noted that on March 12 the Guardian’s media blogger Roy Greenslade corrected his erroneous Nov 15 report (a day after the start of the Gaza war) that an Israeli missile killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi, Omar, as well as Jihad’s sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

Greenslade, as with journalists at numerous other news outlets over the past week, noted in his new report that on March 6 the UN issued an advance version of its report on the war which concluded that Misharawi was likely killed by an errant Palestinian missile, not by the IDF. (This information in the report was first discovered by Elder of Ziyonwho also was one of the few bloggers who critically examined initial reports in the MSM blaming Israel for Misharawi’s death.)

Additionally, the Guardian published an AP report on March 12, ‘UN report suggests Palestinian rocket killed baby in Gaza‘, which went into detail about the new information which contradicted the “widely believed story behind an image that became a symbol of what Palestinians said was Israeli aggression.”

Thus far, the Guardian still hasn’t corrected a Nov. 15 report by Paul Owen and Tom McCarthy, ‘Gaza Twitter war intensifies over pictures of infant casualties‘, which included the heartbreaking photo of Misharawi as well as the following text:

Pictures emerged of BBC cameraman Jihad Misharawi’s 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli attack. Misharawi’s sister-in-law also died in the strike on Gaza City, and his brother was seriously injured.

Though the damage done by the now iconic image of Misharawi ‘clutching his slain child wrapped in a shroud can not be ameliorated by even the clearest retractions, it’s important nonetheless that the media be held accountable to report new information which comes to light contradicting their previous version of events.

Whilst you can of course find out how the BBC covered the news at our sister site, BBC Watch, here’s a quick round-up of how others in the British media performed:

The Telegraph:

On Nov. 15, they published ‘Baby son of BBC worker killed in Gaza strike‘ which included the photo of Misharawi, and this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. Mr Misharawi’s brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

 Additionally, a Nov. 15 Telegraph Live Blog post on the Gaza war included this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. His brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

Corrections:

None.

Daily Mail:

On Nov. 15, they published a sensationalist piece by David Williams titled ‘What did my son do to die like this?’Anguish of BBC journalist as he cradles the body of his baby son who died in Israeli rocket attack on Gaza‘, which included multiple photos of Misharawi with his baby and the following passages:

“Tiny Omar…died after an Israeli airstrike on Hamas militants in Gaza.

Masharawi had arrived at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital after Omar suffered severe burns in an airstrike that sent shrapnel tearing into his home killing a woman and leaving his brother and uncle critically injured.

Corrections:

None.

Spectator:

David Blackburn published a piece titled Israel’s public relations problem‘ which included the image of Misharawi with his baby, as well as the following passage:

The front page of today’s Washington Post shows a picture of the BBC’s Jihad Masharawi holding his dead 11-month-old son, an innocent victim of Israeli action against Hamas’ paramilitary targets following months of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians in southern Israel*

Corrections:

The piece has now been updated, per the asterisk, and includes the following at the bottom:

*Since this article was published, a United Nations investigation has found that the incident described by the Washington Post was caused by the shortfall of a rocket fired by Palestinian militants at targets in Israel.

The Sun

On Nov. 15 The Sun published ‘The Innocents: Beeb journalist’s son dead, another hurt..babies hit as Gaza war looms, by Nick Parker, which included a photo of Misharawi and his baby, and this passage:

Omar was one of at least 15 Palestinians killed in air strikes as Israel retaliated over the Hamas missiles.

Corrections:

None.

The Independent:

On Nov. 15 The Independent published a piece by Amol Rojan titled ’11-month-old son of BBC picture editor is killed in Gaza air strike‘.  The relevant passages in the report are a bit vague, and only suggest causation, but the title alone, informing readers that Omar was killed by an airstrike, clearly implies Israel was to blame.

Corrections:

The Indy has published two corrections: One by Alistair Dawber on March 12 titled ‘UN clears Israel and says errant Hamas rocket probably killed baby in Gaza‘, and a second shorter piece on the same day titled ‘Hamas rocket killed baby in Gaza’.

The Times:

On Nov. 15 The Times published ‘Israelis turn on officials after three die in Hamas strike’, by Sheera Frenkel (behind paywall). Here is the relevant passage:

One of the Palestinian dead was Ahmed Masharawi, the 11-month-old baby son of Jihad Masharawi, a picture editor for the BBC’s Arabic Service. An Israeli missile hit the family’s home in Gaza City, and Ahmed was pronounced dead in Shifa Hospital

On Nov. 16 The Times published ‘Tel Aviv within reach of Hamas rockets’, by Sheera Frenkel, (behind paywall).  Here are the relevant passages.

Meanwhile Israeli tanks, drones, Apache helicopters, warplanes and gunboats were firing into the densely populated Palestinian territory where so far 13 Palestinians, including seven militants and two children, are confirmed to have died and more than 100 to have been injured.

One of the Palestinian dead was Ahmed Masharawi, the 11-month-old baby son of Jihad Masharawi, a picture editor for the BBC’s Arabic Service. An Israeli missile hit the family’s home in Gaza City, and Ahmed was pronounced dead in Shifa Hospital

Corrections:

None.

 

Following CiF Watch post and Tweet, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade corrects Misharawi story

We recently noted that the Guardian was one the “news sites” which jumped on the media bandwagon and accused Israel of firing a missile on Nov. 14, during the Gaza war, at a house near Gaza City which killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi and his sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

As Hadar Sela of BBC Watch noted recently, the story was first reported by BBC Arabic, and disseminated throughout the media (along with the heart-breaking photo of Jihad Misharawi and his dead child) by the head of the BBC Jerusalem Bureau, Paul Danahar – and by other BCC employees.

Whilst the Guardian’s coverage of the tragic death of Omar Misharawi was relatively restrained – at least in comparison to other news outlets, and relative to their usual rush to judgement involving Israel – the paper’s media blogger Roy Greenslade published the following:

roy

Greenslade, citing the BBC as his source, opened with the following, unequivocally assigning blame to Israel:

The 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed yesterday during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip

However, Elder of Ziyon, BBC Watch, and Harry’s Place were among those who examined the evidence and suggested the possibility that Omar Misharawi was killed by an errant Palestinian rocket – skepticism which was confirmed when the UNHRC issued an advance version of its report on the war which included the following:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” [emphasis added]

A U.N. official confirmed to the Free Beacon that this passage in the report was indeed referring to Misharawi.

This information was first uncovered by Elder of Ziyon and has subsequently been reported by, among others, the New York Times, the Washington PostAPHuffington Post, and even by the BBC’s Jon Donnison.

On March 8, we posted on Greenslade’s error and, further, in an attempt to get his direct attention – and to circumvent the slow response time of Guardian editors who often only begrudgingly make corrections – we Tweeted him the following on March 11:

Today, March 12, Greenslade published the following:

roy 2

Greenslade’s post opens thusly:

In November last year I carried a report that the 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip. Omar Misharawi, son of the BBC Arabic service’s picture editor, Jihad, died from shrapnel wounds.

But, according to an inquiry into the conflict in Gaza by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Israeli defence forces were not responsible for the death.

A detailed report on several fatal incidents, issued on 6 March, states that the death of Omar and his aunt was more likely to have been the result of a rocket attack by Hamas.

Though we’ll never know with 100% certainty if our post and/or Tweet prompted his correction, Greenslade nevertheless deserves credit for revisiting a story he originally got wrong, and setting the record straight.

Update: the Guardian also published an AP report today also noting that the UN blamed the Palestinians for Omar Misharawi’s death.

Update 2: The Guardian Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, contacted us to explain that Greenslade did not write his new story about the death of Omar Misharawi because of our post or Tweet.

Elder of Ziyon reader blows the lid off of ‘Dicky Gate’!

BREAKING: A commenter at Elder of Ziyon just revealed the following startling new information on recent “news” about Israeli plans for a 30- day war against Iran which were secretly passed to the Seattle-based blogger, Richard Silverstein, by a source at the IDF.

“I have it on good authority from my sources inside the Mossad that Silverstein is working for Israeli Intelligence. Embedded in the text of his “leaks” is actually a sophisticated virus containing embedded LUA [computer programming] code that was developed by a joint Israeli/American team with help from Iranian dissidents at a secret NSA base in Hawaii where the LUA dress codes were developed. Taken singularly the posts are harmless, however if a collection of n such posts are gathered together on a computer with an Iranian IP address the code unleashes a powerful worm that will take over Iran’s missile system, initiate a firing system and self target each of the silos and all of Iran’s major cities. I’m only releasing this information so that innocent Iranians will have a chance to flee the cities before it’s too late.

The only two people who know the final code which will be released around mid October are Silverstein and his wife. As a result they are guarded day and night by CIA agents, lest Iranian security services seek to thwart the system by kidnapping or incapacitating them.

These particular sources are impeccable and they’ve never been wrong.”

Far fetched?  Perhaps.

But, for those aspiring bloggers amongst you who may wish to influence public opinion, and possibly even become a source for a “respected” British media institution, why not provide, in our comment section, your completely uncorroborated, super top-secret information regarding Israel’s planned attack on Iran. 

Remember: Feel free to let your imagination run wild.  Those fluent in עברית may even plagiarize consult Hebrew language forums, message boards and rumors heard on the street.

Remember, the key aim here is to tip-off Israel’s enemies.  

And, you must operate on the BBC/Guardian assumption that Israelis aren’t sophisticated enough to soberly assess their own security threats – even those posed by nations which openly seek the Jewish state’s destruction – and, thus, Israel needs to be ‘saved from itself’.  

The Guardian & BBC, and a tall tale regarding a Palestinian ‘switched at birth’ in Gaza

Guardian journalists reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict at times seem to casually accept Palestinian claims at face value and often fail to perform even rudimentary research on the argument being advanced.  

For example Harriet Sherwood, in a May 30th 2011 report about the abandoned Arab village of Lifta – located at the western entrance to Jerusalem – uncritically accepted the claims of a former Lifta resident named Yacoub Odeh that the Israeli Knesset, Supreme Court, and Hebrew University were built on Lifta’s former farmlands.  

However, as CAMERA noted, in response to an LA Times story which parroted the same claims about Lifta:

“According to the Jerusalem municipality, none of those institutions are built on land formerly belonging to Lifta. Elie Isaacson, the spokesman for the municipality, noted that the Knesset’s land is leased from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem. As for the Hebrew University and the Supreme Court, they sit on land that once was part of the Arab village of Sheikh Badr, not Lifta.”

“…a phone call to Israel Kimhi of the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, and a foremost expert on the city of Jerusalem, confirmed that Lifta’s boundaries did not extend that far south. He consulted a British Mandate era map and found that Lifta’s boundaries only went as far south as Jaffa Street…”

The Guardian never corrected the story.

Sherwood’s failure to corroborate Odeh’s tale came to mind when I read Elder of Ziyon’s recent post about a CBC radio program concerning Ahmed Masoud; a British writer and playwright who was born in Gaza.  During the program, according to the EoZ reader who drew attention to it , Masoud told a story that he had previously written for The Guardian last year:

Masoud wrote the following:

“I had a very happy childhood in a very large family, with five sisters and six brothers. I’m right in the middle, which is a good place to be. But we lived in one of the worst places on Earth – the Gaza Strip in Palestine – and when I was six, in 1987, the first intifada started. 

…Despite everything going on outside I had a happy childhood. But all this changed when I was 17.

One day I came home from school and turned on the TV. There was a programme about Palestinian refugees and how their families were fragmented because of the troubles, and it talked about how children and babies were mixed up in hospitals.

I looked at my mother and she was electrified – her mouth was open, her eyes were staring and she looked like a ghost. I knew there was something she wasn’t telling me. My dad, too, was staring at the screen. I could see that behind his glasses there was a tear coming down. I hadn’t seen my dad cry before, and to see his tears falling down his cheek was terrifying to me.

Then he wiped his eyes and held my hand, and my mum’s hand, and he started telling the story about what happened when I was born.

At the time, the hospital was being raided and I was evacuated to a special care unit before my mum had even seen me. My dad heard news that the hospital was being bombed and went straight there. When he arrived he was told the room and cot number where he could find me. He ran as fast as he could, but when he got there, he found not one but two babies in the cot. He didn’t know which one was his – the one on the left or the one on the right. There was no time to make a decision. He had to take one. He wondered whether the number they had given him was a mistake, but when he looked around all the other cots were crammed with babies too. And he had to make that decision. So he picked me up. Even now, if you ask him, he can’t answer why he picked me and not the other baby.

He went back to my mum and she wrapped me up, and they ran with me through the streets back home. He didn’t say anything to her until they got home. My mum just put me to her breast and began to feed me. That bond, that love, that motherly feeling was there. The more she looked at me and fed me, the more she was sure I was her son.”

An incredible tale, isn’t it?

Well, Elder thought so too, and you can click here to see him expertly fisk the story, representing a good example of journalistic fact-checking which Guardian editors evidently deemed unimportant.  

Hamas details its own rocket attacks.

Courtesy of IMRA we find that Hamas has put a list on its Al Qassam website detailing the attacks it launched into Israeli territory during the past few days. 

“Al Qassam website – Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, fired dozens of mortars and rockets at the Israeli military sites around Gaza Strip in response to the Israeli violations against Gaza people in the past three days.

The Brigades said in a recent statement that its operatives in Gaza have fired 120 rockets and mortar shells at Israeli military sites around Gaza.

The Palestinian medical sources confirmed that most of the victims were from civilians, the health ministry announced that Israeli air raids resulted in the death of 9 Palestinians, four toddlers among them.

The shelling was as the following:

  • (23:25) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 8 Qassams at the military site “The third eye”.
  • (23:10) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired a Qassam rocket at the military site “Erez”.
  • (22:45) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 3 Qassams at the military sites “Kissufeem & Ri’eem”.
  • (22:30) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 3 Qassams at the military site “Erez”.
  • (22:10) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 2 Qassams at the military site “Sofa”.
  • (21:35) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 5 Qassams at the military site “Kissufeem”.
  • (20:30) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 3 Qassams at the military site “Third Eye”.
  • (20:30) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 6 Qassams at the military site “Erez”.
  • (17:30) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 3 Qassams at the military site “Kfar Azza”.
  • (15:00) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 4 mortars at the military site “Nahal Oz”.
  • (14:30) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired a Qassam rocket at the military site “Kfar Azza”.
  • (13:30) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 5 mortars at the military sites east of Gaza strip.
  • (11:55) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 4 Qassams at the military site “Sofa”.
  • (11:40) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 5 Qassams at the military site “Sofa”.
  • (08:40) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 9 Qassams at the military site “Kissufeem”.
  • (05:45) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 9 Qassams at the military sites “Sofa & Abu Salim”.
  • (04:05) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 6 Qassams at the military site “Sofa”.
  • (15:25) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 2 Qassams at the military site “Ri’eem”.
  • (14:50) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 10 Qassams at the military site “Ri’eem”.
  • (14:50) In response to the Israeli violations, Al-Qassam Brigades fired 5 Qassams at the military site “Zikeem” “

Now let’s take a look at what these ‘military sites’ which Hamas admits it attacked actually are. 

‘The third eye’ is a bad translation of Ein HaShlosha, which is a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council. 

Erez is a kibbutz in the Sha’ar HaNegev regional council. There is a crossing nearby of the same name.   

‘Kissufeem’ is Kissufim – a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council.

‘Ri’eem’ is Re’im – a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council.

‘Sofa’ is Sufa – a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council. There is also a crossing nearby of the same name.

Kfar Aza is a kibbutz in the Sha’ar HaNegev regional council.

Nahal Oz is a kibbutz in the Sha’ar HaNegev regional council.

Abu Salim is Kerem Shalom – a kibbutz in the Eshkol regional council. There is a crossing nearby of the same name.

‘Zikeem’ is Zikim – a kibbutz in the Hof Ashkelon regional council.

There is an army training base situated near the kibbutz – also named Zikim (Bahad 4).

A kibbutz is a civilian agricultural community. Hamas is of course lying when it describes them as ‘military bases’ – perhaps to avoid accusations of the targeting of civilians. As Elder of Ziyon has pointed out in the past, this is apparently Hamas standard practice

It should be noted that throughout the past few days of intense rocket attacks upon Israeli civilian communities, trucks carrying humanitarian aid and supplies continued to pass through the crossings from Israel into the Gaza Strip. 

Anatomy of a story from Gaza.

It is not a new tactic. When Palestinian terrorists in Gaza decide to up their usual daily quota of rocket fire at civilian communities in the south of Israel, a story suddenly breaks about a child in Gaza killed by Israel. So it was in March 2012 when Harriet Sherwood and many others blindly attributed the death of a boy named Nayif Qarmout to Israeli actions.

And so it is too in the latest round of escalated missile fire from Gaza which is still going on. On Tuesday, June 19th, a story emerged about a toddler named Hadeel Haddad from the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza, supposedly killed in an Israeli airstrike. 

The IDF quickly confirmed that it had not been operating in the area at the time and Ma’an news agency stated (at least on its English language site) that the little girl’s death was related to Palestinian terrorists firing a rocket from the region of her family’s home. Some 10 to 15% of all rockets fired fall short and land in Gaza itself.

However, the false version of the story was published widely (and is still available on the web) in Palestinian press and other media outlets – among them Scoop (Kia Ora’s Julie Webb-Pullman reporting), The Shia Post, the official PA Wafa news agency, the Palestine Press news agency,  the Palestine Times,  Palestine Today and the Iranian Ahul Bayt news agency. 

So where did the story originate? Most of the media outlets claim that their source was Adham Abu Selmeyya (aka Adham Abu Musa Salamia) – spokesman for the Emergency and Ambulance Services in Gaza. Selmeyya, however, has a history of exploiting his official position to spread untrue stories.  In fact, as Elder of Ziyon points out, he was also the person who spread the false story about Nayif Qarmout. 

Another aspect to the story is that of the photograph of the dead child – obviously taken at a mortuary. The website ‘Occupied Palestine’, which ran the story using that photograph, credited it to Twitter user @PFLP67 and indeed the photograph appears on his timeline, addressed to the ‘Occupy Palestine’ Twitter account. The same picture was also used by several of the media outlets promoting the false story. 

Note: @PFLP67′s Twitter account now seems to be experiencing technical difficulties or to have been blocked, so that is the reason the  disturbing image is being published here.

Whilst it is not known whether or not @PFLP67  (whose twitter profile states, predictably, that “the way to Palestine passes via the barrel of a gun”) took the picture himself, what we obviously do have here is a member of a terrorist organization who either has access to the morgue in Gaza himself, or has an associate there, promoting a picture which does not tell the story as he claims it to be. What @PFLP67′s connections are (if any) to Adham Abu Selmeyya and the Gaza emergency and ambulance services remains, of course, a mystery. 

Besides the story being published by media outlets and news agencies, it also spread via Twitter and Facebook.

Some of those Tweeting the story appear to have got their original information from the timeline of the BBC’s correspondent in Gaza, Jon Donnison. 

However, despite the fact that Donnison – who would also appear  to have got the story from Adham Abu Selmeyya – has obviously yet to learn that ‘medical sources in Gaza’ can also be ‘propaganda sources in Gaza’ (and sometimes worse), he did correct himself within the hour. 

Unfortunately, by that time the damage was already done, with the false information – now sporting the trusted BBC’s stamp of approval – retweeted and passed on and his correction largely ignored. 

And what of the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood? Well, her somewhat belated report on the current barrage of rocket attacks on southern Israel, published well over 24 hours after the attacks commenced, appears to indicate that this time around she managed to avoid falling into the trap set by Adham Abu Selmeyya the ‘medical source’ propagandist.

“A two-year-old Palestinian girl was killed in an explosion in Gaza on Tuesday evening, and her brother was injured. The Israeli military denied it had launched an air strike in the area. According to the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, witnesses said the child died when militants launched a rocket nearby.”

Once bitten twice shy? Let’s hope that the BBC learns the same lesson soon, because spreading unsubstantiated stories and rumours is a very dangerous practice in the Middle East and journalists – like medical staff – should be bound by the commitment to do no harm. 

‘Elder of Ziyon’ responds to the Guardian’s Ben White on BDS.

The article published on CiF Watch yesterday concerning the Co-operative Group’s decision to upgrade its boycott policies towards Israeli firms was, of course, just one of many. Among those also tackling the subject was Elder of Ziyon, who – along with Harry’s Place – then became the subject of an article on ‘electronic Intifada’ by BDS groupie and Guardian writer Ben White. 

‘The Elder’ responded: 

Ben White, who is apparently a writer specializing in hating Israel, wrote an article in Electronic Intifada criticizing my post pointing out the hypocrisy of the British Co-op boycott of Agrexco, which I noted also effectively hurts the livelihood of most Palestinian Arab farmers. In his critique, White unwittingly shows exactly the hypocrisy that I am talking about.”

Read the rest here

This is an article I wrote last year about the BDS movement’s targeting of Agrexco and the reality of cooperation between that agricultural export company and Palestinian and Arab Israeli farmers. 

In 2010 the government of the Netherlands donated 6 million Euros to two projects designed to “address food security concerns, high unemployment rates as well as to maintain and develop the full economic potential of the Gaza agricultural sector”. However, the Dutch government’s partner in these projects – an NGO known as the Palestinian Agricultural Development Association (PARC) – turns out to be active in the BDS campaign. In January 2011 it issued a press release which included the following statements:

“The last attempt by Agrexco to export to Europe limited quantities of strawberries and flowers from the Gaza Strip, exploiting the illegal Israeli siege of Gaza and the inability of Palestinian farmers there to export except through Agrexco, was aimed at beautifying the image of the Israeli occupation and covering up all its ugly crimes against the Palestinian people, and especially through the ongoing Israeli siege of the steadfasting Gaza Strip.

On this occasion, PARC salutes all activists and international supporters for the BDS campaign and especially our French friends and partners who were able to frustrate the Agrexco attempt to conduct a joint press conference with a few exploited Palestinian producers.”

(Coincidentally, it just so happens that another recipient of funding from the government of the Netherlands is none other than ‘electronic Intifada’.) 

As ‘Elder of Ziyon’ correctly points out:

“To see what real Palestinian Arabs want, look at their companies who attend Israeli trade shows  and fairs to increase their market. Look at those who visit the ports at Ashdod and Haifa to better understand import/export procedures.”

Hamas Hagaddah? Jewish Voice for Peace & great achievements in Jewish far left self parodies

H/T Elder of Ziyon

I was sharing with a fellow blogger recently that I occasionally read something by far left Jewish critics of Israel that is beyond merely risible, but, rather, so beyond the pale, so unhinged and full of self-hatred (those Jews who are ‘proud to be ashamed to be Jewish’) that its almost as if we’re being set up: that such commentary is the work not of Jews, but of trolls trying to provoke us.  

While working on several Guardian related posts, I took a short break and came across commentary from the group Jewish Voice for Peace about Passover so inane that I can barely wrap my mind around the thought process involved in its conception.  But, it should provide context the next time the far left Jewish group weighs in on the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.

(The Guardian causes me enough Tsoris that I occasionally allow myself a bit of blogging comic relief, and a sincere H/T to JVP for the low hanging fruit).

While I’m all too familiar with the Jewish far left in Philadelphia (where I lived most of my life), and have seen “alternative” Passover Haggadot (Jewish texts that set forth the order of the Passover Seder), before, this one by JVP truly jumps the shark.

As Elder of Ziyon noted: The Jewish Voice for Peace “Haggadah” could have easily been written by Hamas in its attempt to portray Jews as the evil protagonists.

Here are excerpts from the JVP document. (Emphases mine, unintentional comedy courtesy of JVP)

In the wake of the revolutions throughout the Arab World, and particularly in Egypt, we want to acknowledge the distinction between “mitzrayim” — the narrow place, where the story we tell at Passover takes place — and Egypt, the modern-day nation-state. We are not conflating contemporary Egyptians with the pharaoh and taskmasters that appear in the Passover story.In the U.S., and worldwide, anti-Arab racism and Islamophobia saturate our media and our culture, and we must be vigilant to oppose it and interrupt it at every turn.

The word Yisrael (Israel) when found in the liturgy (religious text) does not refer to the modern nation/state of Israel, rather it derives from the blessing given to Ya’akov (Jacob) by a stranger with whom he wrestles all night. When the stranger is finally pinned, Ya’akov asks him for a blessing. The stranger says,“Your name will no longer be Ya’akov but Yisrael for you have wrestled with G-d and triumphed.” Therefore when we say “Yisrael” in prayer we are referring to being G-d-wrestlers, not Israelis.

Here is JVP’s addition to the Seder plate:

Olive – Symbolizing the self-determination of the Palestinian people and an invitation to Jewish communities to become allies to Palestinian liberation struggles.

JVP on the symbolism of breaking the middle matzoh: 

As we break the middle matzoh we acknowledge the break that occurred in Palestinian life and culture with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 when hundreds of villages were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. This damage cannot be undone — but repair and return are possible.

General JVP guilt on the offense of Israel’s existence.

How will we, as Jews, bear witness to the unjust actions committed in our name?

Our freedom was bought with the suffering of others. As we packed our bags that last night in Egypt, the darkness was pierced with screams. May the next sea-opening not also be a drowning; may our singing never again be their wailing. We shall all be free, or none of us shall be free because our liberations are intertwined.

This is a  JVP version of the part of the Seder where Jews dip wine onto their plate to symbolize the plagues on Egypt by God as punishment for enslaving the Jews.  Here’s what they think we should be thinking about, regarding Israeli villainy and Palestinian suffering, when dipping the wine.

  1. Poverty
  2. Restrictions on movement
  3. Water shortage
  4. Destruction of Olive Trees
  5. Home demolitions
  6. Settlements
  7. Political prisoners
  8. Profiteering
  9. Denial of the Right of Return
  10. Erasing histories
JVP version of Dayanu (If God had bestowed to the Jews even one of the many miracles enumerated in the Haggadah, it would have been enough)

When soldiers rounded up Palestinian men and massacred them collectively – we should have said enough.

When Palestinian men were forced into labor camps, where their labor included destroying Palestinian homes – we should have said enough.

When the on the Eve of Passover, in an operation called, “Cleaning Out Chametz” the Haganah shelled the Palestinian residential quarters of Haifa, forcing 70,000, 90% of the city’s Palestinian residents, to flee – we should have said enough.

JVP, on the bitter herb on the Seder plate, traditionally meant to symbolize the bitterness of slavery under Pharaoh:

We taste a bit of maror, the bitter herb, as it calls to mind the bitterness of slavery, the bitterness of life under occupation.

On the meaning of the Hillel sandwich 

We prepare to eat the Hillel sandwich with the sweetness of haroset and the bitterness of maror, highlighting the challenge to us to taste freedom in the midst of oppression, to be aware of oppression even as we are free, we hold the contradictions of bitter and sweet.

I truly don’t know where to begin, and fisking their version is almost too easy, so I decided to provide an addition to their text: My version of Guardian Left/Seumas Milne/JVP friendly “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

What makes this night different from all [other] nights?

On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!

The tray is restored to its place with the matzoh (organic, and made with union, and non-exploitative, labor) partly uncovered. Now we say “We were slaves. . .”

We were slaves to Pharaoh rightwing Jewish thought in Egypt, and the L-rd, our G-d young progressive Jewish community took us out from there with a strong hand and with an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, blessed be He the anti-imperialists had not taken our fathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children’s children would have remained enslaved to Pharaoh Zionism, the Jewish lobbyneocons, militarism, & capitalism in Egypt. Even if all of us were wise, all of us understanding, all of us knowing the Torah the Israel section of the Guardian, we would still be obligated to discuss the exodus from Egypt; and everyone who discusses the exodus from Egypt at length is praiseworthy.

Hey, its only a draft.

“Modern” Turkey: Where using Hitler to promote a men’s shampoo is considered “edgy”

Per Elder of Ziyon:

Biomen is a Turkish cosmetics company trying to make a splash in the local market. They hired M.A.R.K.A., an advertising agency known for its “edgy” ads.

The resulting ad( (aired on March 21) shows footage of Adolf Hitler, dubbed and subtitled as if he is speaking about men’s shampoo.

What the Guardian won’t report: Moderate Kuwaiti cleric calls Jews “scum of mankind”, “apes & pigs”

H/T Elder of Ziyon

The degree and volume of Judeophobic commentary emanating from the Arab/Muslim world is, according to the most prolific scholar on antisemitism today, Professor Robert Wistrich, comparable to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.

Polls consistently demonstrates that antisemitism is morally normative in the Arab/Muslim world, and represents one of the most under-criticized racist phenomena of our day.  

If we lived in a world where anti-racists were true to their cause, the culture, nation, and region where such insidious narratives about Jews (seen below) escaped public opprobrium would be held accountable, named and shamed.

However, we clearly don’t live in such a world. 

As MEMRI noted:

When moderate Arabs in moderate Kuwait sat to relax and watch their moderate TV stations last Friday, they got to watch this moderate cleric.