Former British diplomat: Israel should dismantle its security fence for peace

Cross posted from Richard Millett’s Blog

Sir+Vincent

Sir Vincent Fean

Last Tuesday I attended yet another anti-Israel event at the London Middle East Institute based at SOAS. The last LMEI event I attended beautified Hizbollah. And last Tuesday I had another anti-Jewish insult hurled at me, to add to the long list, for merely asking a question during a Q&A.

The guest speaker last Tuesday was retired British Diplomat Sir Vincent Fean, a man who has served as a diplomat in Paris, Brussels, Libya, Damascus, Baghdad and amongst the Palestinians.  Fean said he wanted to “speak about how peace could come about in the Holy Land” and he said that he believed in “the two state solution”.

However, after his 40 minute talk I realised that Fean did not believe in Israel’s safety or its existence at all. He wanted Israel emasculated and indefensible.

Fean demanded that the “settlements” be disbanded and called the “illegal settlement enterprise” the “single most significant threat to the two state solution”.

As proof of “illegality” he invoked the Geneva Convention claiming that Israel gives inducements for Israelis to move to the West Bank. That is hardly “transfer” but it is enough for the likes of Fean to conclude that Israel is committing a breach of international law.

Fean called for Israel to dismantle its security fence, for Israel’s forces to be withdrawn from “Palestinian soil” and for Egypt to open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

Continue reading

CiF Watch prompts Indy correction to erroneous ‘Gaza Holocaust’ passage

As we noted previously, The Independent published a story on December 24th about the ongoing Sony hacking scandal by 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 a vocal Israel supporter, the Indy flubbed a key passage in the story.

Here are the relevant passages in the Indy article:

indy passage

The claim that Kavanaugh compared the situation in Gaza to the Holocaust is grossly inaccurate.

Continue reading

Guardian contributer suggests that British Jews alarmed about antisemitism are ‘ungrateful’

pic

Rally against antisemitism, Royal Courts of Justice

In fairness, The Guardian has published a few morally clear articles, op-eds and editorials on the recent increase of antisemitism in Europe and the UK. However, a Jan. 19th Guardian op-ed by David Conn, responding to poll results on antisemitism published by Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA),  pivots towards more familiar Guardian Left territory – downplaying, obfuscating or rationalizing resurgent anti-Jewish racism.

Conn not only responds with disbelief to polls purporting to show that 25% of British Jews have considered leaving the country because of antisemitism, that 58% believe Jews may have no future in Europe and that over half feel “antisemitism now echoes the 1930s”, but counters that he personally has never experienced meaningful antisemitism in his entire life.

Further in the op-ed, Conn writes:

Continue reading

Once again, Peter Beaumont contradicts Peter Beaumont

An end-of-year Guardian report by Peter Beaumont (2014 in review: return to conflict in Gaza claimed 2000 lives) on the most significant events in the region in 2014 naturally highlighted the breakdown of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in late April.

pb

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 Guardian report 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.

Continue reading

Palestinians tell the Guardian: Israeli occupation took root not in 1967, but 1300 BC

The root of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – and ‘the occupation’ of the West Bank – does not date back to 1967.

No, for the Palestinian protagonists in the latest article by the Guardian’s Giles Fraser, you have to go back much, much further in time – to roughly 1300 BC.

Giles Fraser

Continue reading

Independent flubs key passage in story about Natalie Portman & the Sony hacking scandal

The Independent published a story on December 24th, by their Deputy People Editor Ella Alexander, about the ongoing Sony hacking scandal.

Here’s the headline, photo and strapline.

indy

So far so good.

As Alexander reports, “Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Seacrest were among a select few to receive emails from Relativity Media CEO and The Social Network executive producer Ryan Kavanaugh about anti-Semitism in relation to the Gaza conflict”.

However, in attempting to explain the nature of those emails (a reply-all chain argument leaked by Sony hackers about Gaza, featuring Russell Simmons, Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Ryan Seacrest) from Kavanaugh, who is Jewish and a passionate Israel supporter, the Indy reporter gets a serious element of the story wrong.

Continue reading

Telegraph fails to note that abducted Jewish teens were murdered

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.  

year in review

Continue reading

Matti Friedman helps us understand the Guardian’s coverage of Israel

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.

media

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.

Continue reading

Times of London moves false ‘2nd class Arab citizen’ headline to lead story

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”.

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.

Continue reading

Guardian article suggests Yasser Arafat abandoned terrorism after 1990

A nearly 5000 word hagiographic profile of Yasser Arafat by  and  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.

header

Here’s the key passage in the Guardian’s ‘long-read’ (Yasser Arafat: Why he still matters, Nov. 13) concerning the man known to some as the “father of modern terrorism.”

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”.

Continue reading

Eve Harow interviews Adam Levick about upcoming CAMERA event in Jerusalem

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. 

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

Channel 4 News to ‘Son of Hamas': “Are you a traitor?”

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.

Continue reading

“Neo-Nazi” does warm up act for anti-Israel author Max Blumenthal.

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).

Continue reading