As we noted previously, The Independent published a story on December 24th about the ongoing Sony hacking scandalby the newspaper’s Deputy People Editor, Ella Alexander.
However, in attempting to explain the nature of a series of leaked emails (a reply-all chain argument featuring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Russell Simmons and Ryan Seacrest) from film producer Ryan Kavanaugh, who is Jewish and avocal Israel supporter, the Indy flubbed a key passage in the story.
Here are the relevant passages in the Indy article:
The claim that Kavanaugh compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust is grossly inaccurate.
Beaumont’s report begins with these opening paragraphs, which lead to a passage blaming Israel for the breakdown:
This was a year that tested – largely to destruction – the notion you can have stability and quiet in the absence of a Middle East peace process. Instead, 2014 in Israel and the Palestinian territories was marked by a return to conflict in Gaza, which claimed over 2,200 lives, by increasing violence and tension on both sides, continued Israeli settlement building, and the introduction of a worrying religious aspect to the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The fulcrum around which all this turned was the breakdown of renewed US-brokered attempts to move towards a final settlement of the conflict, which collapsed in April amid mutual recriminations after Israel reneged on an agreement to release a third batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
However, as Peter Beaumont acknowledged in a Guardianreport published on April 29th, the circumstances surrounding Israel’s reluctance to release the final prisoners were much more complicated, and can’t reasonably be framed as an Israeli failure to abide by its commitments.
The Telegraph’s 2014 World News Reviewof the biggest stories in politics and culture included international news stories such as the disappearance of flight MH370, the crisis in Ukraine, the bloody march of ISIS jihadists and, of course, the war between Israel and Hamas.
However, despite the caption’s claim, it’s far from certain that 15 Palestinian civilians (including the girl pictured in the AFP photo) were in fact killed – at a UN school in the Gaza city of Beit Hanoun – by an Israeli tank shell on the day in question.
On Tuesday night in Parliament I asked Manuel Hassassian, the unofficial Palestinian ambassador to the UK, why in the speech he had just delivered in which he accused Israel of “war crimes” he made no mention of Palestinian violence, specifically the recent murders by two Palestinians of four Rabbis and a Druze policeman at a west Jerusalem synagogue.
He answered me directly but when he said that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had condemned the killings I reminded him, as you can see in the clip below, that Abbas had incited the murders in the first place with his violent rhetoric including imploring Palestinians to use “all means” to stop Jews visiting the Temple Mount.
In carrying out our mission, CiF Watch often attempts to contextualize the Guardian’s coverage of Israel by explaining not only what they get wrong, but also why they get it wrong. So, in August we posted excerpts from a superb article by former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman, in Tablet Magazine, which masterfully dissected the widespread institutional bias which distorts coverage of Israel and the Middle East.
Friedman’s latest essay (What the media gets wrong about Israel), published on Nov. 30th in The Atlantic, is another must-read for those who’ve thought seriously about the skewed coverage of Israel at the Guardian – and within much of the UK media.
Here are a few of the more interesting passages from Friedman’s essay.
As we noted in a post earlier today, Times of London editors chose a headline for an article by Gregg Carlstrom today which leveled a charge not supported by the text, and which mischaracterizes a proposedbill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”.
Times of London, Nov. 24
We noted that under two versions of a 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 “equal individual rights for all citizens” would be protected.
Though the headline was possibly inspired by a stray comment by Yair Lapid, Netanyahu’s minister of finance, who used language echoing the “second class citizen” charge, an accurate headline can not pass off as fact an accusation which is only claimed by some – at least without quotes or some other qualifier.
Recently, we checked the Times of London again, to see if – after our complaint to the paper – they modified the misleading headline.
However, upon glancing at the the home page we noticed that the story is actually now featured on the home page.
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.
Today, editors again chose a headline for an article by Carlstrom which leveled a charge not supported by the text, and which mischaracterizes a proposedbill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”.
Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor, commentator and “radical Maoist politician” who openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to murder thousands of Americans on 9/11.
Gilbert was also one of the authors of a letter published in the medical journal Lancet during the Gaza war which accused Israel of intentionally “massacring” Palestinian women and children. The journal’s editor later apologized for the letter, explaining that it “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.”
More recently, Gilbert was in the news after he was banned ‘for life’ from entering Israel.
Though the Guardian and Independent both covered Gilbert’s banning, a look at the way in which they cited a quote from the Israel Foreign Ministry about Gilbert is quite revealing.
However, what stands out in the piece by Ahmed Yousef (senior political adviser to Ismail Haniyeh), which attempts to rebrand the Islamist terror group as a benign democratic political movement, is a claim in the following passage, which follows a risible defense of their (evidently misunderstood) racist charter.
Were pundits to truly scrutinise Hamas’s actions since its inception, they would find not a single official statement or position that is based on denigrating another faith, certainly neither Judaism nor Christianity. Nor can anyone produce a shred of evidence that Hamas formally encourages prejudice against anyone’s ethnicity.
Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, in hisessay at Tablet on media coverage of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, explained that reporters “working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel”, whose “every action and flaw is analyzed, criticized and aggressively reported”, while, alternately, “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate”.
The Guardian coverage of Israel and the greater region perfectly reflects this principle.
In the following video produced by Jerusalem U,Col. Richard Kemp, the former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, explains the egregious double standards in media coverage of Israel during the recent Gaza conflict.