Guardian champions their favorite Israeli causes: Disloyalty and Insubordination

Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman, in his essay 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.

Though the Guardian has completely ignored an AP story on growing evidence that Hamas used human shields during the war, and failed to report even more dramatic reports that Hamas may have used violence against UNRWA employees, they’ve published over 10,600 words in 7 separate stories relating to one protest letter by 43 Israelis (who serve or have served in the IDF’s 8200 intelligence unit), threatening that they’d no longer serve in the unit due to their political opposition to participating in “Israel’s military occupation over the territories”.

Here’s how the Guardian’s Israel page looks today, September 16th.

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You can read the whole letter by the 43 here, but the following paragraphs are quite instructive:

We, veterans of Unit 8200, reserve soldiers both past and present, declare that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.

Millions of Palestinians have been living under Israeli military rule for over 47 years. This regime denies the basic rights and expropriates extensive tracts of land for Jewish settlements subject to separate and different legal systems, jurisdiction and law enforcement. This reality is not an inevitable result of the state’s efforts to protect itself but rather the result of choice. Settlement expansion has nothing to do with national security. The same goes for restrictions on construction and development, economic exploitation of the West Bank, collective punishment of inhabitants of the Gaza Strip, and the actual route of the separation barrier.

While the Guardian has naturally framed the 43 Israelis as “refuskniks”, and an honorable group taking a principled stand on behalf of freedom of conscience, do we even have to ask how the paper would respond if a group of right-wing Israelis in the same unit, prior to the 2005 evacuation of Gaza, signed a letter refusing to take part in surveillance of extremist Jewish groups in Gaza on the grounds that they opposed the evacuation?

Indeed, as a recent Jerusalem Post editorial reminded us, every Israeli soldier, upon induction, pledges to “maintain loyalty to the State of Israel, its laws and legally authorized government, to accept without condition or reservation the discipline of the IDF, to obey all orders and instructions by authorized commanders”.

As the overwhelming majority of Israelis who serve in the IDF understand, there isn’t an asterisk at the end of their oath of allegiance which grants exceptions to those who disagree, on political grounds, with the mission assigned to them.  

Whilst soldiers are always free to take complaints to their superiors, the only legitimate means of changing military policy – given that the IDF is of course subordinate to the government – is by participating in elections and using other legitimate tools within the state’s democratic framework, to change government policy.  Indeed, the near universal criticism within Israel (on the Left and Right) to the protest letter, as well as fact that the 43 chose to release their letter to the media and not to work within the system to effect change, is a good indicator of just how unpopular their case is in the country they purport to love.

Finally, the Guardian’s fawning coverage of the 43 – as we’ve seen in their obsessive coverage of Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli who engaged in treason, and, closer to their London offices, their role in the release of British security secrets by Edward Snowden – the media group’s claim to champion liberal values is fatally undermined by their elitist contempt for principles such as patriotism, loyalty, respect for the law and restraint – values which represent the sine qua non of any real, functioning, stable and sustainable democracy. 

Miracle in Gaza: Power plant the Guardian declared “destroyed” comes back to life

Elder of Ziyon just published a fascinating update on the widely reported story from late July, in which Gaza’s only power plant was allegedly completely “destroyed” by an Israeli missile strike.   

Here’s how the Guardian covered the incident in a July 30th report by Harriet Sherwood.

guardianThe report, quite naturally, didn’t mention that Israel not only denied attacking the power plant, but explained that they didn’t bomb anything in the vicinity of the power plant that day.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from Sherwood’s report:

Flames and clouds of black smoke billowed over Gaza‘s only power plant on after it was destroyed during the most relentless and widespread Israeli bombardment of the current conflict. At least 100 people were killed on Tuesday, according to Gaza health officials.

“The power plant is finished,” said its director, Mohammed al-Sharif, signalling a new crisis for Gaza’s 1.8 million people, who were already enduring power cuts of more than 20 hours a day.

Amnesty International said the crippling of the power station amounted to “collective punishment of Palestinians”. The strike on the plant will worsen already severe problems with Gaza’s water supply, sewage treatment and power supplies to medical facilities.

We need at least one year to repair the power plant, the turbines, the fuel tanks and the control room,” said Fathi Sheik Khalil of the Gaza energy authority. “Everything was burned.” He said crew members who had been trapped by the fire for several hours were evacuated.

Gaza City officials said damage to the power station could paralyse pumps and urged residents to ration water.

The Guardian also published a video report titled ‘Israel targets Hamas leader and power plant‘, which similarly omitted any mention that Israel denied targeting the plant.  And, the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Ian Black, contextualized the story as providing evidence which makes it difficult for Israel to continue to “claim” that it doesn’t “intentionally target civilian infrastructure” in Gaza.

However, as Elder noted in today’s post, the “destroyed” power plant is about to come back online.

According to a report at Ma’an News Agency on September 14th, the plant is ready to begin running again – 46 weeks ahead of schedule!

Gaza’s only power plant is ready to begin running again as soon as a shipment of fuel arrives to the Strip, the plant’s executive manager said Saturday. Walid Saad Sayil said at a news conference that he was waiting on a response from President Mahmoud Abbas’ office on providing fuel to run the plant. Sayil expects to hear back from either Ramallah or Qatar within 48 hours regarding a fuel shipment, he said.

So, in summary, at the end of the day, contrary to Guardian reports on the incident:

  • There appears to be no evidence that Israel targeted the power plant, or even that the plant was struck by an Israeli missile, and (based on the high percentage of errant terrorist rockets which fell inside Gaza) we should consider the possibility that a Hamas rocket may have inadvertently hit the plant.
  • Whatever caused the damage to the power plant, the claim that the plant was completely “destroyed” appears to be a gross exaggeration. 
  • Claims that it would take “at least one year to repair the power plant” were obviously completely untrue.

We can of course expect a follow-up report by Sherwood on her original power plant story…soon eventually never.

The Gaza War in 5 minutes: Richard Kemp explains what the media didn’t report

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.

CiF Watch prompts correction to Indy claim about Gaza construction materials

A Sept. 5th article at The Independent on post-war Gaza reconstruction by Natasha Culzac included the claim that only Israeli-made materials are permitted to enter into Gaza:

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Snapshot of the original passages from a cached page

 As we noted in our original post on the article, the Indy failed to reveal that the very article linked to (to buttress the claim of “Israeli-only” construction materials) also included a firm denial that any such policy exists by the prime minister’s spokesman Mark Regev. Additionally, we noted, CiF Watch contacted COGAT, which coordinates the entry of aid into Gaza, to ask them about the claim, and we received a similarly unequivocal denial.

After contacting Indy editors (and Tweeting Natasha Culzac), not only was a correction made, but all of the passages cited above were completely deleted from the article. (You can see the article before the changes were made at this cached page).

We commend both Ms. Culzac and Indy editors on their positive response to our complaint.

BREAKING: Foreign journalist shows openness to criticism

Earlier today, we posted about an article in the Independent on Gaza post-war reconstruction which included the claim that the only construction materials permitted to enter Gaza are those which come from Israeli sources.

However, we noted that the Indy article failed to inform readers that the very site linked to (in order to buttress the claim that Israel only allows Israeli-made construction materials into Gaza) also quoted Mark Regev from the prime minister’s office flatly denying the allegation.  Additionally, we contacted COGAT, the Israeli body responsible for coordinating aid into Gaza, and they also firmly denied the charge.

We’ve contacted Indy editors over the omission and are awaiting their reply, but are quite hopeful that a revision will be made following this refreshingly civil reply to my Tweet about our recent post by the Indy journalist who wrote the article, Natasha Culzac – whose Twitter handle is @tinbaths.

tweeet

Ms. Culzac’s humility is quite a contrast to the arrogance we’re so accustomed to when confronting foreign journos. Here’s a recent exchange I had with the BBC’s Jon Donnison in response to his unprompted attack on our sister site, BBC Watch.

donnisonWe can only hope that more professional journalists understand that the powerful media groups they work for can benefit from the independent monitoring work of sites such as CAMERA, CiF Watch and BBC Watch, and attempt to show just a bit of Ms. Culzac’s refreshing openness to criticism. 

Independent cites ‘EU source’ in baseless claim on Gaza import restrictions

A Sept. 5th story on post-war Gaza reconstruction in The Independent by Natasha Culzak, titled “Israel-Gaza Crisis: Reconstruction of flattened Gaza will cost £5billion, Palestinian officials say“, included the following claim:

Mr Shtayyeh, who is also an economist, said Gaza would be relying on international aid for the reconstruction project, in addition the eradication of Palestinian rivalry and the opening of Israel-Palestine border crossings.

An EU source speaking on condition of anonymity told EurActiv: If you want aid materials to be permitted to enter, they will almost inevitably come from Israeli sources.

I don’t think you’ll find it written down anywhere in official policy, but when you get to negotiate with the Israelis, this is what happens. It increases construction and transaction costs, and is a political problem that has to be dealt with.

Of course, the most likely explanation for why this “anonymous EU source” couldn’t find this Israeli-only goods rule “written down anywhere in official policy” is that it seems to be a fabrication.

Interestingly, the Indy reporter failed to note that the very article at EurActive she linked to included the following flat-out denial by Mark Regev  

Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime ministers’ office, denied claims that Israel’s entry policy to Gaza prevented non-Israeli-made reconstruction materials from entering the Strip.

“I know that policy, and it is not true,” he told EurActiv over the phone from Jerusalem.

Additionally, CiF Watch contacted COGAT, which coordinates the entry of aid into Gaza, to ask them about the claim, and we received this response:

Regarding the claim that Israel is actively trying to dissuade and interfere international donors from purchasing and bringing non-Israeli building materials to the Gaza Strip, we reiterate that it is Israeli policy to allow any nation or organization to bring in any building materials they wish as long as they do not violate the dual-use restrictions that are in place. The source of the building materials is not of concern to the Israeli government – only that they cannot be used for non-civilian use and that they follow proper tax procedures.

It’s the job of reporters to attempt to corroborate unsubstantiated claims made by anonymous sources, and to note official responses which contradict such claims – fundamental principles of professional journalism that the Indy’s Natasha Culzak failed to uphold.

Matti Friedman discusses ‘An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth’

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the [Gaza] war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues. – Matti Friedman (former AP correspondent)

On Aug. 26th we published excerpts from a masterful, widely shared article about media bias against Israel (in Tablet Magazine) by former AP correspondent Matt Friedman, titled ‘An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth‘. Recently, Friedman joined Yishai Fleisher for in-studio interview to discuss his article, and shed further light on the question of why the media gets the Arab-Israeli Conflict so consistently wrong.

Top 7 anti-Jewish comments by The Independent’s Mira Bar-Hillel

Mira Bar-Hillel is a journalist for the London Evening Standard and op-ed contributor for The Independent, who’s also been interviewed by both the BBC and Sky News on the topics of Israel, British Jewry, and antisemitism – this despite the fact that Bar-Hillel acknowledged being prejudiced against Jews and has a record of engaging in anti-Jewish racism.

Here is a list of her anti-Jewish claims, which we’ve compiled during the course of frequent posts about her op-eds, media appearances and Tweets:

1. She admitted to being “prejudiced against Jews”. Here are her exact words:

The Jews of today scare me and I find it almost impossible to talk to most of them, including relatives. Any criticism of the policies of Israel – including the disgraceful treatment of Holocaust survivors as well as refugees from murderous regimes – is regarded as treason and/or anti-Semitism. Most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash. Goyim (gentiles) are often treated with ill-concealed contempt, yet the Jews are always the victims. Am I prejudiced against Jews? Alas, yes.

2. She complained  (in an op-ed at The Independent) that Jews smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to silence and “gag into submission any critic of Israel”. 

3. She evoked  (in an op-ed at The Independent) the ugly Nazi-Zionism analogy in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza. 

4. She accused British Jews (in a series of Tweets) collectively of ‘bombing Gaza’.

5. She argued (during a BBC interview) that British Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community.

6. She expressed (in a series of Tweets) her belief that “the message” of Jews controlling America is “entirely true” and “increasingly so”, and that Jewish lobbyists appear to be picking up some of their ideas from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and using them.

7. She complained (in an op-ed at The Independent) that the pro-Israel lobby is multi-tentacled. (Indy editors later removed the words “multi-tentacles”)

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Snapshot of cached version of passage from Bar-Hillel’s op-ed

As we’ve argued previously, it’s truly difficult to understand how a reputable publication like The Independent (which claims to take antisemitism seriously) can continue publishing op-eds by someone with such a well-documented history of advancing explicitly antisemitic tropes.

indy

Headline from official Independent editorial on Oct. 4, 2013, denying that the paper engages in antisemitism

 

Read Yiftah Curiel’s Guardian op-ed: ‘Hamas is single biggest barrier to peace’

, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in London, published an op-ed at the Guardian titled ‘Hamas is the single biggest barrier to peace in Gaza‘.

yiftach

We encourage you to read it, and comment below the line.

 

Read Adam Levick’s op-ed at The Independent

Adam Levick had an op-ed published today at the The Independent, (‘Yes, pro-Israel Jews lobby the Gov’t, and like all UK citizens they have every right to do so‘, Sept. 2), in response to an Independent op-ed by Mira Bar-Hillel (The truth about pro-Israel lobbies, Sept. 1).

You can read it here.

CiF Watch prompts correction at the Indy over Hamas executions claim

An Aug. 22nd article in The Independent by Kashmira Gander about the war in Gaza included the following passage in reference to the recent public execution of 18 Palestinians by Hamas.
 
orig 2

 However, there were widely reported public executions in Gaza much more recently than the 90s.

So, it clearly is not accurate to claim that the recent public executions in Gaza were the first since the 1990s.

After our communication with Indy editors, they deleted the sentence which claimed that these recent executions were the first in the enclave since the 90s.

correction
We commend Indy editors on their positive response to our complaint.

An appeal to Owen Jones: don’t associate with anti-Semites

This is cross posted from the blog of The CST, and was originally titled ‘Opposing antisemitism: an appeal to put words into action’.

owen jones

Owen Jones

The past two months have seen the number of antisemitic incidents in Britain approach record levels Much of this has been due to extreme reactions to the conflict between Israel and Gaza that reached its latest ceasefire yesterday. This problem, and its link to extreme manifestations of anti-Israel sentiment, has been covered extensively in the British media.

Some pro-Palestinian activists have recognised this problem and spoken out against it. 

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has said that antisemitism has no place in its activities, and Owen Jones wrote a column for the Guardian in which he warned of the need to take antisemitism seriously. In particular, he wrote:

Antisemitic themes are depressingly constant: of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence. Sometimes this hatred is overt, other times more subtle and pernicious.

We welcome these statements from supporters of the Palestinian cause, just as we previously welcomed PSC’s rejection of the equation of Israel with Nazi Germany. And because we consider these statements to be important and necessary, we hope and expect that the people who made them will live up to their words and the sentiments behind them.

It is for this reason that we appeal to PSC and to Owen Jones to reconsider the inclusion of Tim Llewellyn as a speaker at a PSC meeting tomorrow evening, 28th August, on “Gaza: let down by the BBC and mainstream media?” We appeal to PSC as the organiser of the meeting and to Jones as one of the other speakers.

Our objection is not to the meeting itself. We do not oppose your right to hold public meetings in support of the Palestinians, or to criticise Israel, or to critique media coverage of the conflict between the two.

Our objection is specifically to the inclusion of Llewellyn as a guest speaker on this topic because he has a record of statements that illustrate exactly what Jones warns against: themes “of Jews being aliens, lacking loyalty to their countries, acting as parasites, wielding disproportionate influence.”

For example, last year at a meeting in London that was also about media coverage of Israel, Llewellyn claimed that the BBC is intimidated by the “Jewish lobby”. When he was challenged on this by the chair of the meeting, he resisted criticism of his choice of phrase. The full exchange ran as follows and can be viewed here on the CST Blog:

Llewellyn: “Is it because… I can see it in the BBC. They’re frighten’, these people are quite aggressive, right. The Jewish Lobby is not much fun. They come at you from every direction.”

Off camera, another speaker says “no”, then, “its the pro-Israel lobby”. It is not exactly clear who says what after this, but it includes the chair Mark McDonald talking over Llewellyn, stating:

“I mean that’s a very important thing to say, that it’s not a Jewish lobby. Can I interrupt a second. It’s not a Jewish lobby. It might be a Zionist lobby. It may be a pro-Israel lobby.”

Llewellyn replies: “Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.”

This statement by Llewellyn was not a one-off. It fitted a long record of statements and writings that mix “Jewish” with “Zionist” while alleging that both hold undue and nefarious influence in British public life. For example, in 2006, Llewellyn wrote the following in the Foreword to a new edition of Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew:

No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel…the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.

…this cuckoo in the nest of British politics…

… Israel had worked its spells well, with a lot of help from its friends: these lined the benches of parliament, wrote the news stories and editorials, framed the way we saw and heard almost everything about the Middle East on TV, radio and in the press. History, the Bible, Nazi Germany’s slaughter of the Jews, Russian pogroms, the Jewish narrative relayed and parlayed through a thousand books, films, TV plays and series, radio programmes, the skills of Jewish writers, diarists, memoirists, artists and musicians, people like us and among us, all had played their part.

…the fervent Zionist Labour MPs, some of them little better than bully-boys, Richard Crossman (not a Jew), Ian Mikardo, Maurice Edelman, Emmanuel “Manny” Shinwell, Sidney Silverman, Konni Zilliacus et al, are, mercifully, not only no longer with us but have not been replaced, not in such virulent form.

… the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.

Llewellyn mixes “Zionist” with “Jewish”, describing both as “alien” to Britain; and alleges undue and negative influence and manipulation of the media, politics and “the banking sector”. These allegations all have clear antecedents in antisemitic conspiracy theories.

Another example: in 2004, Llewellyn was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as describing former US ambassador Dennis Ross in these terms:

He also denounced broadcasters who invited the “insidious” former US ambassador to the Middle East Denis Ross, without fully identifying him.

Mr Llewellyn said: “What a lovely Anglo-Saxon name! But Denis Ross is not just a Jew, he is a Zionist, a long-time Zionist… and now directs an Israeli-funded think tank in Washington. He is a Zionist propagandist.”

The suggestion that broadcasters should identify an interviewee as “a Jew”, lest their viewers be fooled by an “Anglo-Saxon name”, is scurrilous and prejudiced.

In 2012, Llewellyn wrote of

massive media distortion, and … Zionist penetration and manipulation of our institutions – the media, universities, local education, political parties…

He went on to describe as Britain’s

real enemies… the ambitious and greedy British politicians and insidious political influence, in this case spawned by an alien state and strengthened by its friends in our midst, people who put Israel’s interests above that of their own nation.

(From The Battle for Public Opinion in Europe: Changing Perceptions of the Palestine-Israel Conflict, eds. Daud Abdullah & Ibrahim Hewitt, not online). Again, this echoes the classical antisemitic allegation of ‘dual loyalty’, whereby British Jews are accused of lacking loyalty to the country of their birth.

If the important and welcome statements by PSC, Owen Jones and others about their opposition to antisemitism and determination to exclude it from pro-Palestinian activism have real meaning, then there should be no place for Tim Llewellyn at a PSC meeting. This is not an abstract argument: the sharp increase in antisemitism in Britain in recent weeks demonstrates that fact. Words lead to actions, good and bad. We now invite PSC and Owen Jones to put their valuable and worthy statements and principles into practice. A discussion of media coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict must not give room to those who believe that there is a Zionist conspiracy to control, manipulate or influence the British media, politics, banking and education, as Tim Llewellyn has suggested. Nor should pro-Palestinian activism be a home for those who believe that Jews are an alien presence, disloyal to Britain, who change their names to disguise their true loyalties.

Put your words into action, and remove Tim Llewellyn from your platform.

Financial Times correspondent John Reed declares Hamas a ‘winner’

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie”

This is a quote by George Orwell about news reports during the Spanish Civil War, but, as former AP correspondent Matt Friedman explained in his masterful Tablet essay (An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth), Orwell’s words are just as apt in characterizing the media’s egregiously misleading coverage of Israel and the war in Gaza. 

The Orwell quote (cited by Friedman in his article) came to mind when we read the following passages in a report in the London-based Financial Times by John Reed titled ‘War in Gaza: Winners and Losers‘, which happened to overlap with Hamas’s own surreal assessment of the war.

Here’s the relevant passage in Reed’s report:

ft

Let’s take it apart:

Reed:

Before Protective Edge, Gaza’s ruling Islamist movement was in a corner. It was politically isolated, bankrupt, unable to pay its civil servants and forced by circumstances to reconcile with arch-rival Fatah.

And, after the war, Hamas is politically isolated, bankrupt, and still unable to pay its civil servants. Further, the current ceasefire deal which Hamas agreed to is almost exactly like the one Egypt proposed (which Israel accepted) but Hamas rejected on July 15, one week into the conflict, before the IDF destroyed their terror tunnels, and killed some of their top leaders.  

Hamas’s decision to reject the July 15th proposal represented a colossal miscalculation, and resulted in more Hamas fighters killed, a much greater depletion of their rocket capacity, and no perceivable military, strategic or political benefit.

Other Hamas ‘demands’ which haven’t been agreed to by Israel in the current ceasefire include opening a sea port and an airport in Gaza, and releasing additional Palestinian prisoners.

Reed:

In this context, the war was a welcome development. Hamas, for the third time in five years, confronted one of the world’s best armies and managed to hold on to power, calculating correctly that Israel would never embark on a longer and bloodier ground war in order to topple it.

How low can you set the bar? The mere fact that they ‘held on to power’ is a victory? Again, he doesn’t explain what concrete achievements they can reasonably boast. Also, it’s interesting that Reed fails to explain how the war was a “welcome development” for Palestinian civilians.

Reed:

Hamas rockets, built painstakingly over years by blockade-busting tactics, sent people across Israel running into shelters, killing six civilians and bringing most flights at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport to a halt for two days in July.

It’s almost as if Reed admires Hamas’s ‘grit’ in diverting humanitarian aid (which could have helped Gaza’s economy) for terror purposes. Plus, it’s interesting how such Jerusalem based correspondents covering the war, such as Reed, who almost universally downplayed the threat posed to Israeli civilians by the thousands of Hamas rockets, can now suggest that these same rockets ‘successfully’ terrorized Israel by killing six civilians, and sending them fleeing for bomb shelters. 

Reed:

Although much of Hamas’s arsenal is now depleted and many of its tunnels destroyed, fighting Israel to another ceasefire plays as a victory for many of its supporters.

Talk about burying the lead!  So, despite the fact that “Hamas’s [rocket] arsenal is now depleted and many [sic] of its tunnels destroyed”, Reed still maintains that a victory was achieved. 

Reed:

As after Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, Hamas can begin firing again if it chooses. Granted, when the dust settles from this conflict and its spoils and destruction become clearer to Gazans, they could potentially turn on Hamas. There is no sign of this happening yet, however.

Of course, one of the biggest obstacles preventing Gazans from “turning on Hamas” is not any objective assessment of the war’s “achievements’ per se, but, rather, scenes such as these:

One of 22 Palestinians summarily executed by Hamas on Aug. 22

One of 22 Palestinians summarily executed by Hamas on Aug. 22

Finally, here are some facts ignored by Reed in his assessment:

  • IDF attacked 5,263 targets across Gaza during the war, hitting rocket launching sites, arms and munitions factories and warehouses, as well as the offices of Hamas commanders. Several top Hamas commanders and hundreds of Hamas fighters were killed. Over 34 known tunnels were destroyed.
  • Out of the 4,564 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from Gaza, over 475 landed in Gaza, killing an unknown number of Palestinians. 3,641 exploded in Israeli territory, but only 224 actually hit residential areas, while the remaining rockets fell in open areas; The Iron Dome intercepted at least 735. Six Israeli civilians were killed.

To simply state that Reeds’s assessment of Hamas’s achievements ‘does not bear any relation to the facts’ is an understatement of enormous proportions. 

CiF Watch prompts correction to erroneous Times of London headline

On Aug. 5th, the Times of London published an article (pay wall) titled ‘Refugee camp hit as Israel admits it broke truce’.

headline times of london

However, the article didn’t include any information even suggesting that Israel had “admitted” breaking the truce.  Indeed, news sites reported that the time of the attack (aimed at a senior Hamas operative) was clearly in dispute.

After several complaints to Times editors, they agreed to revise the headline.

revisedThe print edition ran this correction:

times 2

 

We commend Times editors for their positive response to our complaint.

Guardian fauxtography: Chris McGreal pulls a Jon Donnison

You no doubt recall when, during the last war in Gaza in 2012, BBC’s Jon Donnison tweeted a photo of a girl with the title “Pain in Gaza”, to which Donnison added his own commentary – “Heartbreaking”.  It of course turned out that the genuinely heartbreaking image was actually from Syria and not from Gaza – a mistake for which Donnison subsequently apologized. 

Well, within the last hour, the Guardian’s Chris McGreal just retweeted the following, to his nearly 4,000 followers, a Tweet by Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa Division, for Human Rights Watch.

syria

However, this photo of a boy (8 year old Eid) holding his new prosthetic leg was taken in Syria, not Gaza.

pcrf

The article posted at the site of Palestine Children’s Relief Fund explains:

Thanks to the support of donors all over the world, the hard work of the PCRF Jordan Chapter, and Mr. Charl Stenger, an orthotics specialist working in Dubai, 8-year-old Eid from Syria got his new artificial legs after losing them from a bombing earlier this year (his mother was killed and his 5-year-old sister also lost a leg).  The PCRF is dedicated to helping any child in need, regardless of their nationality, religion or ethnicity.  

No doubt, apologies from McGreal and Whitson will be forthcoming.

UPDATE: Whitson deleted her tweet and wrote this:

delete

No word yet from McGreal.