The Telegraph’s 2014 World News Review of 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.
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 proposed bill designed to enshrine Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people”.
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.
A nearly 5000 word hagiographic profile of Yasser Arafat by Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi in the Guardian characteristically obfuscated the decades-long record of planning and carrying out terror attacks against innocent Israelis by the late Palestinian leader and groups under his control.
Without armed struggle the Palestinian awakening heralded by Fatah was unlikely to have occurred, yet Arafat and his colleagues knew both the value and limits of force. They were aware of the need to modulate or discard force entirely when necessary. Their political programme developed accordingly, from an emphasis on armed action as the sole means of struggle in 1968 to its eventual disappearance from the PLO’s political programme altogether after 1990.
However, the fact is that, though in 1988 he claimed to accept Israel’s right to exist and in 1993 shook hands with Yitzchak Rabin (inaugurating the Oslo Accords), Arafat continued to encourage and provide financial support to “groups directly under his command, such as the Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade”.
On Nov. 2nd, Voice of Israel host Eve Harow spoke to CiF Watch managing editor Adam Levick about the upcoming CAMERA public forum in Jerusalem, “War By Other Means: Israel, Hamas and Media Coverage of Gaza”. (Prior registration is necessary and can be completed by opening this link.)
Here’s an audio of the interview.
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)
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.
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.
- Protests outside Arts Depot against anti-Israel actor Miriam Margolyes (Richard Millett)
- Why I’m an ashamed Jew (Ray Cook)
- The chosen blog? Guardian gives a shout out to “pressure group” called CiF Watch (cifwatch.com)
A 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.
In this interview with Channel 4 News Mosab Hassan Yousef (aka Son of Hamas), after being asked “Are you a traitor?” sets out why he renounced his father, renounced Hamas and became an Israeli agent.
He blames Hamas for dragging Israel into this summer’s war with Hamas and blames Hamas for using their own people as human shields. He says Israel is a democracy and has a constitution under which people of all religions live. It is a fascinating interview and is a prelude to the new film about him called The Green Prince.
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).
By CiFWatch Editorial Team.
In a deeply ironic article The Guardian’s George Monbiot asks why, in light of NATO’s current air war against Islamic State, the west doesn’t “bomb the Muslim world – all of it” and possibly “flatten the entire Middle East and West Asia” his thesis being that with there being so many human rights abusers in the region why concentrate solely on Islamic State/ISIS.
“Our narrative has gained the upper hand in the media” – Hamas deputy political leader Ismail Haniyeh
As Jews in the UK and across the world were welcoming in the new year on Wednesday evening, the Guardian Group published yet another official editorial reminding readers which party was to blame for the 50 day war between Israel and Hamas.
Whilst nobody familiar with the political leanings of the media group would be surprised that they judged the Jewish state guilty, their September 24th polemic (The Guardian view on the human, economic and political costs of the Gaza war) is noteworthy as a reminder that their top editors in London believe that even the most extreme elements within Palestinian society aren’t responsible for their actions.
The Guardian editorial parrots Hamas talking points in claiming that the movement was strengthened by the war; sows doubt over Hamas culpability for the murder of three Israeli teens, despite a claim of responsibility from one of their leaders as well as an admission by the cell’s ringleader that Hamasniks in Gaza funded the “operation”; falsely characterizes Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli cities as a “response” to Israeli aggression; and challenges “Israel’s reasons for going to war“, completely erasing the history of the conflict.