Guardian incites the crowd: Israel quickly blamed for Gaza school attack

Is there any provocation in which bombing schools and hospitals can be deemed a proportionate response by a civilized state?

The above quote was just a stray comment (in response to media reports about the attack on a UN school in Gaza yesterday) by an acquaintance on Facebook, but it  sums up exactly what happens when the media presumes the worse about Israel before the facts are in, ignoring counter evidence.

The incident occurred yesterday when 15 Palestinian civilians were killed at a UN school in Beit Hanoun – an assault that both Hamas and Israel claim might well be the fault of the other.

Though all the facts aren’t completely clear, here’s what we do know:

  • According to the IDF, there has been, for several days, continuous fire by Hamas from near the UN school (representing a violation of international law). However, before retaliating, the IDF attempted (over the course of three days) to facilitate the evacuation of all civilians per an official humanitarian window from 10:00 to 14:00 on Thursday – a temporary ceasefire which was evidently communicated to the UN and International Red Cross. 
  • As far as the tank shells or rockets which may have hit the school on Thursday, resulting in the civilian casualties, we know that, according to official sources, IDF sensors detected ‘errant’ Hamas rockets falling at least in the neighborhood of the school. It is also is being reported that Hamas fired at the IDF from near the Beit Hanoun school and that “soldiers responded by targeting the source of the fire”, tank fire which may have hit the school or the area around the school.
  • So, while we know that Hamas was once again using its illegal human shield strategy at the school in Beit Hanoun to shield its fighters, as of now, the UN still hasn’t determined whether Hamas rockets or IDF tank shells were ultimately to blame.

So, though while the sequence of events are unclear at this point, a day after the tragedy, this didn’t stop the UK media’s immediate rush to judgment – blaming Israel for the Palestinian deaths, and ignoring Hamas’s use of human shields.

While some US media outlets were – quite tellingly – much more fair and circumspect in their initial assessments (avoiding headlines which blamed either side), the following headlines at the Guardian, Independent and Times (of London), published when very little information was known, indicate a troubling lack of restraint and objectivity. 

(First, here’s the Telegraph, the only major UK paper we reviewed that avoided immediately blaming Israel for the Palestinian deaths. Though the British tabloid The Daily Mail used an AP report with a similarly non-judgmental headline.)

telegraph

Now, for the others:

Owen Jones:

Indy, New Statesman and Guardian commentator Owen Jones Tweeted this, early in the morning on Thursday, before any facts were established (and even before major news sites reported the story), using the unproven allegation of an Israeli ‘atrocity’ to promote an anti-Israel event on Saturday.

owen jones tweet (2)

The Guardian being, well, the Guardian:

guardian

Guardian home page, July 24

(Additional Guardian reportsand live blog updates, on the incident yesterday and this morning similarly judged Israel guilty in the attack, and downplayed evidence of Hamas culpability)

Times (of London):

times

The Independent:

indy

One last thing. If you think that the media isn’t capable of employing restraint and avoiding the tempting rush to judgment, here’ are two stories featured side by side yesterday on the Indy’s Middle East page: one on the attack in Beit Hanoun and the other one focusing on reports that the Islamist extremist group ISIS (aka, The Islamic State) announced that women in the territory they control would be forced to undergo Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

unnamed

Independent, July 24th, Middle East page

It’s interesting that while the Indy was quick to defend the jihadist group from the ‘smear’ that they’re enforcing FGM, they showed no such concern for what may be another vicious libel against the Jewish state – one which, as we’ve seen, may have dangerous repercussions for Jews in the UK and across Europe.  

 

Facts about the battle of Shejaiya the Guardian didn’t report

On July 20th, we posted about two Guardian reports, by Harriet Sherwood and Peter Beaumont, on recent fighting between the IDF and Hamas in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shejaiya, a few kilometers from Israel’s border.

We noted that the Guardian devoted 625 words to the battles that took place in Shejaiya and, while focusing almost entirely on civilian casualties, failed to include even a word about the reason for the military operation.  Specifically, Sherwood and Beaumont didn’t inform readers that the civilian neighborhood of Shujaiya housed an underground terror headquarters and storage areas for rockets, bombs, and other weapons.

Below are excerpts from two articles about the battle, written by two of the leading Israeli journalists, Ron Ben Yishai and Nahum Barnea, both in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot.

The translation is by CAMERA:

Ron Ben Yishai
Yediot Achronot“Gaza time, Cairo Time”
Sunday July 20, 2014 (excerpts)

 

Regarding the fighting in Shejaiyya: it is reasonable to assume that the main reason there was so much resistance, was the lack of surprise. Four days prior to entering Shejaiyya, the IDF demanded again and again from the residents to evacuate. Towards the entrance, the IDF started a heavy artillery attack on the outskirts of Shejaiyya. The Hamas and Islamic Jihad, therefore, had four days and a warning of a few hours that the IDF is going in. This is why – as opposed to Hamas fighters escaping to their hiding places when the IDF launched the sudden ground attack – this time they hid traps, prepared anti-tank ambushes and waited for the Golani brigade, tanks and bulldozers to come in.

Another reason is that Shejaiyya is in effect a military compound prepared for fighting, which is planted in the heart of the civilian population. All of the assets that are important for the terror organizations are there: welding workshops for manufacturing rockets, labs for making explosives, rocket warehouses, hidden rocket launchers, command centers, and a tunnel system that enables the terrorists to move between these facilities quickly without being concerned about getting hit from the air. There are also entrances to tunnels that lead into Israel.

Shejaiyya’s location makes it preferable in the context of distance and as an observation point – for shooting towards the local surroundings as well as towards the Tel Aviv area and northwards. This is why it’s not surprising that Hamas and Jihad decided to fight for Shejaiyya, and they had time to prepare for such fighting.

Golani did what they came to do, fought and died, but it is quite clear that they continued and completed the mission, including extricating their [wounded and dead] friends.

That was the reason that the IDF began a heavy attack on Shejaiyya in the morning, with artillery, planes, helicopters and tanks. There was concern that Hamas will try to grab bodies of soldiers who lay dead in the streets, or wounded Golani soldiers. In order to cover the rescue mission and prevent [the terrorists from] coming close, the IDF shot into the neighborhood, and this is why many Palestinians who were not involved in the fighting were hit – including women and children. These photos did, and are still doing, damage for Israel in the international arena. But, as just said, there was a necessity to act in order to prevent the kidnapping of dead or injured soldiers. It seems the international community understands this.

Nahum Barnea
Yediot Achronot, The Bint Jbeil of Gaza

Monday July 21, 2014, page 2 of the print edition (excerpts)(The words of an IDF officer to the journalist Nahum Barnea):

“Shejaiyya probably has the most concentrated number of tunnels in Gaza. The neighborhood is dense, the homes are high, some have five or six stories… Many residents fled. Some stayed. Hamas people were threatening them with weapons. I saw this with my own eyes. We dropped warning pamphlets on them telling them to leave; we called them on the phone; we shot towards the outskirts of the open areas; we shot close to the houses. We could not do more than this. Anyone who had half a brain left and whoever stayed, stayed.”

HURRAH for ‘blood-stained’ SHIRTS!: Daily Mail leads with ISM propaganda

You really have to question the judgment of Daily Mail editors in not only publishing the following selectively edited anti-Israel propaganda video released by the pro-terror group, International Solidarity Movement (ISM), but in featuring it in a story on their home page yesterday:

daily mail

Mail Online, July 22

Here’s the ISM film which represents the sole piece of evidence supporting the wild claim that an Israeli sniper killed a Palestinian civilian during recent fighting between the IDF and Hamas.

As Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA noted, ISM has refused requests to release the full (unedited) video.

Though there is much to fisk, we received permission to post the following superb analysis of the ISM clip by the blogger Thomas Wictor

Hooray for Pallywood! If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Pallywood refers to the fraudulent videos that the Palestinians and their supporters put out to try and convince the world that Israel is the new Third Reich. Today the International Solidarity Movement released the most blatantly phony footage I’ve ever seen. A child could deconstruct this fake atrocity video.

This is what the International Solidarity Movement says about the young man “killed.”

In the video, however, we first see him at 0:24, transporting an uninjured man on a stretcher to…somewhere. He’s going in the opposite direction as the “rescuers.”

capt

When he realizes he’s being filmed, he turns away from the camera. For some reason he didn’t change his distinctive shirt when he played his next role. Still, he has a beard with no mustache…

Now to the meat of the video. At :59 there’s a crack. This is a squib, an electrically detonated firecracker. I’ll explain more about that later. They set it off to make you think they’re being shot at. Then at 1:30 the subtitles say, “I don’t know. The tanks are surrounding us.”

Do you hear any tanks? This is what it sounds like inside an Israeli Merkava main battle tank (MBT), insulated by inches of steel, carbon fiber, and ceramic.

An MBT is unbelievably LOUD. The engine, the turret, the treads, the drive sprockets, the wheels, and the suspension make it sound like a house being demolished. The actor pretending to be talking on the phone in the fake atrocity video says they’re surrounded by Israeli tanks. How come we don’t hear them? Why is there nothing but DEAD SILENCE?

At 2:01 in the International Solidarity Movement’s video is another screwup. Green Shirt admits, “There are no injuries here.” That’s because the Israeli Defense Forces warn civilians to leave the area before they attack. Yet the same people also shoot civilians with sniper rifles?

At 2:23 the first “sniper shot” hits Green Shirt. Suddenly he goes from being beside the cameraman to lying in the only cleared-out space in the rubble.

At 2:28 [they] ACTUALLY FILM HIM APPLYING  [what appears to be] FAKE BLOOD TO HIS LEFT HAND. You can clearly see the plastic squirt-tube here in his right hand.

next

He puts his left hand on his butt and then holds it up so we can see the “blood.”

(Note, that one CiF Watch reader who saw the video said that the tube of “fake blood” may actually be his cell phone)

At 2:38 another squib is detonated: crack!

At 2:48 the really horrible actress of the International Solidarity Movement listlessly recites her lines: “Tell them to stop. Tell them to stop.” No urgency whatsoever.

At 2:54 another squib is detonated. You can see the smoke and hear the crack at the same time.

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[seemingly] indisputable evidence that a sniper isn’t firing at him. You don’t hear the firing and the impact of the bullet simultaneously, unless the muzzle of the rifle is pressed to your forehead. Also, Israeli snipers use the Sniper Weapon System (SWS) .338 Lapua Magnum.

Here’s what that it sounds like and the damage it does. Don’t worry: Only cinder blocks were injured, and they’re all bastards anyway. Screw ‘em.

Now, according to the International Solidarity Movement, the kid was shot three times, including twice as he was lying on the ground. He was shot from the right, from down an ally. This is the trajectory.

You just saw that Lapua blowing the hell out of those cinder blocks. Where are the kid’s wounds? Is the Israeli sniper actually lying beneath him, firing upward?

I could post photos of what people look like after they’ve been hit with high-powered sniper bullets. However, because this worthless propaganda video is so amateurish, it’s not necessary for me to inflict images of mangled corpses on you.

After Green Shirt was “dead,” he opened his eyes.

Notice how calm everybody is? It’s because there were no Israelis within miles of where they filmed this clown act. And you know why the International Solidarity Movement never told us the kid’s name? The reason is that the Israelis keep records of every Palestinian who dies in the wars they have with Gaza. If Green Shirt’s name were revealed, the Israelis would’ve informed us that he isn’t dead and that he’s a Hamas operative.

But we already know that, because of the beard, the non-shelled ambulances, the squibs, the terrible acting, the absence of gunshot wounds, and the tube of [what appears to be] fake blood.

When you lie it means you know you’re wrong. And for everybody else, don’t believe what you see and hear on the Internet. You may think something must be true, but it can still be fake.

If a lone blogger was able to recognize the amateurish nature of the film, certainly editors at the Daily Mail should have, at the very least, refrained from promoting it until a thorough examination was conducted.

However, this is more than simply a case of a tabloid posting a sensational viral video.  Those – such as ISM and their extremist allies – who advance the narrative of Israeli snipers firing at innocent Palestinian civilians feed into calumnies about Jews which, as we’ve seen in recent antisemitic outbursts in the UK and across Europe, often have extremely dangerous consequences.

 You’d think that, at the very least, Daily Mail editors’ would be cautious about peddling such toxic visual agitprop peddled by a decidedly reactionary movement – cognizant, perhaps, of their unfortunate editorial decisions of the past. 

Indy’s Mira Bar-Hillel complains on the BBC about Jews and CiF Watch trolls!

Briefly, here are a few highlights from our posts about Mira Bar-Hillel, a columnist at the Independent:

  • She complained that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) often smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
  • She evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
  • She recently accused British Jews (collectively) of ‘bombing Gaza’.
  • She admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.

In the following BBC interview with Bar-Hillel, she claims that Jews don’t criticize Israeli actions in Gaza out of fear of being “ex-communicated” from the Jewish community, and criticizes this blog for ‘trolling’ her.

You can listen to the whole interview here:

//

(See recent post at Harry’s Place about Bar-Hillel, here)

Guardian duped by fake NBC Tweet claiming white phosphorous attack

A few hours ago, we noticed this update on the Guardian Live Blog on the Gaza War, edited by Matthew Weaver.

(Note the last sentence at the bottom of this snapshot of the update, which we marked with a red arrow)

tweet

Here’s the tweet they likely removed:

tweet

Here’s the Twitter account they evidently believed was the real NBC account:

twitterYou of course don’t have to be a whiz at social media to realize that a real NBC News Twitter account would have more than 79 followers and 25 Tweets!

Guardian cartoon mocks IDF efforts to avoid civilian casualties

The IDF routinely drops leaflets, sends recorded messages and places calls and text messages (and often sends ‘knock on the door’ warning shots) in advance of attacks in Gaza, warning civilians to distance themselves from Hamas weapons and operatives – and to take refuge in designated safe areas – as part of efforts to minimize civilian harm.  (The IDF also often delays or calls off attacks if civilians don’t heed such warnings.)

Hamas on the other hand has admitted to using Palestinians as human shields to prevent Israeli attacks on rocket launchers and terror tunnels (often hidden beneath civilian structures, such as homes and even mosques), often telling their civilian population to stay in their homes prior to an attack.  Such Hamas tactics represent a tacit acknowledgement that the IDF goes to extraordinary lengths to avoid harming civilians, and can be expected to proceed with much greater caution when engaging in an attack on Hamas terrorists if civilians are in the vicinity.  

Also, as Jeffrey Goldberg noted: Dead Palestinians also represent a crucial propaganda victory “for the nihilists of Hamas”.

In stark contrast to Hamas’s cruel indifference to the suffering of their own population, it’s unclear if any army in the world goes to such lengths to avoid civilian casualties as the IDF.

No matter. Much of the media – and other ‘commentators‘ – have been on a crusade to obfuscate this clear moral divide.

To boot, a ‘First Dog on the Moon cartoon which appeared in the Guardian on July 21st:

headline

dog on the moon

 

  • As we’ve noted, contrary to the suggestion in the frames, Palestinians called by the IDF are informed of designated safe zones where they should flee. 
  • Contrary to what the text in the cartoon implies, the homes in question are targeted because they’re used by Hamas to store weapons (such as rockets) or other instruments of war. Indeed, reading the cartoon, you’d be forgiven for believing that the IDF launches missiles at civilian homes for no particular reason.
  • Finally, note the second to the final frame, which really says it all: Israeli warnings to civilians are summed up as a threat that the IDF will kill Palestinian children if they (presumably Hamas fighters) choose “to fight back”.

The cartoon is a lie, graphic agitprop which represents yet another example of the foreign media running interference for the reactionary, antisemitic extremist group currently waging a war of their own choosing against the Jewish State.

 

Jenin redux? Guardian omits reports of rockets, terror tunnels in Shejaiya

Here’s the scare headline accompanying a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Peter Beaumont on July 20th:

scare headline

The article centers on a few recent battles in Gaza, including a large anti-terror operation in the northern city of Shejaiya.

Regarding Shejaiya, we are told the following:

All morning, terrified people ran from their homes, some barefoot and nearly all empty-handed. Others crowded on the backs of trucks or rode on the bonnets of cars in a desperate attempt to flee. Sky News reported that some had described a “massacre” in Shujai’iya. Witnesses reported hearing small arms fire inside Gaza, suggesting gun battles on the streets. Heavy shelling continued from the air and sea.

Bodies were pulled from rubble amid massive destruction of buildings in the neighbourhood. Masked gunmen were on the streets.

Late on Saturday evening, Israeli forces hit eastern areas of Gaza City with the heaviest bombardment yet of the 13-day war. The assault was most intense in the direction of Shujai’iya, where an orange glow of flames lit up the sky. At one stage, artillery and mortar rounds were hitting the outskirts of the city every five seconds. Later in the night jets flew low passes over the coast.

The Guardian saw families squeezing into the back of what few vehicles were available as streets further east were pounded by artillery fire.

Columns of people, many of them too scared, angry and shocked to speak, approached down the main road to the east and from side streets even as small arms fire was audible in the distance.

One of those fleeing was Sabreen Hattad, 34, with her three children. “The Israeli shells were hitting the house. We stayed the night because we were so scared but about six in the morning we decided to escape,” she said.

“But where are we supposed to go? The ambulances could not enter and so we ran under shell fire.”

Three other men pass by in a hurry clutching bedding in their arms. Asked what they had seen they would only answer: “Death and horror.”

Many of those escaping Shujai’iya made for Gaza’s central Shifa hospital, which was engulfed by chaotic scenes and ambulances ferrying the dead came in a steady steam, among them a local TV cameraman, Khaled Hamad, killed during the overnight offensive, wheeled out wrapped in a bloody plastic shroud.

Those who had fled congregated in corridors, on stairs and in the hospital car park. Staff put mattresses on floors to accommodate the injured, while some patients were being evacuated.

Aish Ijla, 38, whose leg was broken by shrapnel, said: “We live very close to the border. When the shells started we couldn’t leave the house. It is two storeys. The shells were hitting the upper floor so we all moved downstairs. There were 30 of us in the house. Then the shrapnel started hitting the door.

“It was quiet for a moment and we decided to run. But as we were on the road a shell landed near me, breaking my leg. I told the family to go on with out me and carried on going for a little bit and stopping then going on. Eventually an ambulance reached me after two hours.”

An accompanying article by Sherwood and Beaumont included this about Shujai’iya:

Late on Saturday evening, Israeli forces hit eastern areas of Gaza City with the heaviest bombardment yet of the 13-day war. The assault was most intense in the direction of the Shujai’iya neighbourhood, where a constant orange glow of flames lit up the sky.

As the assault continued into Sunday morning, Israel disclosed that four of its soldiers had been killed in the ground offensive.

At one stage, artillery and mortar rounds were hitting the outskirts of the city every five seconds. Later in the night, jets flew low passes over the coast.

As Sunday dawned, a thin pall of smoke hung over the seafront while tank fire echoed through deserted streets.

Large numbers of residents of the areas under attack fled the outskirts for Gaza’s city centre, while residents called radio stations pleading for evacuation.

In total, the Guardian provided 625 words to the battle in Shuja’iya, and failed to include even a word about the reason for the military assault, despite the fact that Israeli officials were quick to post the following information:

This civilian neighborhood in Gaza is home to extensive Hamas infrastructure. In only 13 days, Hamas has fired over 140 rockets from this neighborhood into Israel.

IDF soldiers have found 10 openings to terror tunnels in Shuja’iya. These tunnels are used for infiltrating Israel, smuggling weapons, and launching rockets at Israeli civilians.

The IDF warned civilians in Shuja’iya to evacuate the area many days before striking the terror infrastructure within it. Dropping leaflets, making phone calls and sending text messages are just some of the many actions the IDF has been taking to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza.

Hamas knows that Israel is reluctant to attack areas with many civilians. The terrorist organization fights from within civilian population and uses them as human shields.

Hamas ordered the residents of Shuja’iya to ignore the IDF’s warning and stay in the neighborhood. By doing so, Hamas put them in the line of fire.

Despite the fact that many of the residents ignored warnings and didn’t leave the neighborhood, the IDF continued to operate in the most precise and surgical way possible, targeting only terrorists and their infrastructure.

The IDF agreed to the Red Cross’ request for a two-hour humanitarian window in Shuja’iya. This humanitarian window was opened despite the threats emanating from the neighborhood, including continuous Hamas rocket fire at Israel.

Hamas broke the humanitarian window when firing at Israel during the two-hour period. Still, the IDF agreed to the Red Cross appeal to extend the Humanitarian widow by another hour.

In light of the selective reporting and unsubstantiated accusations of massacres, you should recall that for two weeks in April of 2002, the Guardian ran wild tales of an Israeli massacre in the West Bank city of Jenin — a massacre that didn’t happened.

As Harry’s Place wrote in 2012, on the 10th anniversary of the non-massacre:

On the heels of a thirty-day Palestinian suicide bombing campaign in Israeli cities which included thirteen deadly attacks (imagine thirteen 7/7’s in one month), Israel embarked on a military offensive in the West Bank.  The fiercest fighting in this offensive occurred in the refugee camp just outside the West Bank town of Jenin, the launching point for 30 Palestinian suicide bombers in the year and half previous (seven were caught before they could blow themselves up; the other 23 succeeded in carrying out their attacks).  In this battle, which lasted less than a week, 23 Israeli soldiers were killed as well as 52 Palestinians, of whom at most 14 were civilians (there is some marginal dispute about that last figure).

[Seumas] Milne referred to ‘hundreds’ killed, ‘evidence of atrocities,’ and ‘state terror.’  Not to be outdone, Suzanne Goldenberg reported from Jenin’s ‘lunar landscape’ of ‘a silent wasteland, permeated with the stench of rotting corpses and cordite.’  She found ‘convincing accounts’ of summary executions, though let’s be honest and concede that it’s not generally difficult to convince Goldenberg of Israeli villainy.  In the next day’s report from Jenin, a frustrated Goldenberg reported that the morgue in Jenin had ‘just 16 bodies’ after ‘only two bodies [were] plucked from the wreckage.’  This didn’t cause her to doubt for a moment that there were hundreds more buried beneath or to hesitate in reporting from a Palestinian source that bodies may have been transported ‘to a special zone in Israel.’  Brian Whitaker and Chris McGreal weighed in with their own equally tendentious and equally flawed reporting the following week.

Only on the tenth consecutive day of breathless Jenin Massacre reporting did Peter Beaumont report on detailed Israeli accounts refuting the massacre accusations, though predictably this was presented as part of an Israeli PR campaign rather than as conclusive proof.  Two days later, Beaumont conceded that there hadn’t after all technically really actually been a massacre but then proceeded to repeat a handful of falsities as fact all over again.  Without a doubt, though, the most memorable article the Guardian published on Jenin was its April 17 leader ‘The Battle for the Truth.’  The high dudgeon prose included the following sentences: ‘Jenin camp looks like the scene of a crime’; ‘Jenin smells like a crime’; ‘Jenin feels like a crime’; ‘Jenin already has that aura of infamy that attaches to a crime of especial notoriety’; and, unforgettably, the assertion that Israel’s actions in Jenin were ‘every bit as repellent’ as the 9/11 attacks in New York only seven months earlier.

No correction or retraction has ever been printed for this infamous editorial.

On the contrary, though mounting evidence emerged that the whole massacre calumny was a fabrication (never adequately reported by the Guardian), twice over the following year this leader article was obliquely cited — once in condemning another Israeli action by comparing it to the ‘repellent demolition of lives and homes in Jenin’ and most outrageously under the headline ‘Israel still wanted for questioning.’

Whilst it’s too soon to tell if subsequent Guardian articles on the battle in Shuja’iya will be modeled after their Jenin Lie, the galling omissions in the first two reports by Beaumont and Sherwood suggest, at the very least, the media group has learned nothing from past journalistic failures.

Related articles

Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel accuses British Jews of bombing Gaza

“Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel” represents an example of modern day antisemitism, according to the EUMC Working Definition, a perfect example of what’s known as the new antisemitism, as it evokes the classic Judeophobic narrative ‘accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for the alleged wrongdoing committed by a single Jew or Jewish group’. 

To boot, the following Tweet by Indy contributor Mira Bar-Hillel:

Then there was this response:

We should point out (in the context of Bar-Hillel’s accusation to  that “you” bombed women and children) that Mr. Newmark is a British Jew and not an Israeli. 

To provide a little context, Ms. Bar-Hillel’s polemical history at the Indy has included the following:

  • She strongly suggested that Jews (per the Livingstone Formulation) often smear people unfairly with the charge of antisemitism to “gag into submission any critic of Israel”.
  • She evoked Nazi Germany in characterizing Israeli racism and IDF military actions in Gaza.
  • She admitted to being prejudiced against Jews.

Regarding her acknowledgement of being prejudiced against Jews, here’s the full quote 

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.”

Yet, despite Ms. Bar-Hillel’s concern that “most papers and journals will not even publish articles on the subject for fear of a Jewish backlash”, she continues to be published by the Independent, a paper which just last year wrote a spirited editorial claiming that “neither Israel nor the broader Jewish community is demonised by this newspaper”.

Sorry, but when, as an editor for a major UK daily, you make the decision to license a commentator who admits to being prejudiced against Jews – and one who continues to advance Judeophobic calumnies on your op-ed pages – your righteous indignation over charges of antisemitism ring a little hollow.  

Related articles

CiF Watch prompts Indy correction to false claim by Mira Bar-Hillel

We recently posted about an op-ed by Mira Bar-Hillel (a Jewish commentator who has acknowledged being antisemitic) which erroneously suggested that the Israeli media demanded the IDF bomb Gaza “back to the Stone Age” (see here), and accused Israelis of believing that “Palestinians aren’t quite human”.  

As we pointed out, she also made a patently false claim concerning the 2012 Gaza War.

Here’s the relevant passage:

Over the past decade we have had “Operation Cast Lead” (2008/9) in which illegal white phosphorus was employed, 1,400 Gazan civilians were killed including one family whose children bled to death on the roof because Israeli aircraft prevented their evacuation. The Israelis lost 11 soldiers. In “Operation Pillar of Smoke”, (2012) hundreds more died, all Palestinian.

Of course, her claim that ALL of those who died during the war (Operation Pillar of Defense) were Palestinian is not true. Four Israeli civilians and two soldiers were killed in that war.

After contacting Indy editors, they agreed to revise the passage accordingly.

It now reads:

Over the past decade we have had “Operation Cast Lead” (2008/9) in which illegal white phosphorus was employed, 1,400 Gazan civilians were killed including one family whose children bled to death on the roof because Israeli aircraft prevented their evacuation. The Israelis lost 11 soldiers. In “Operation Pillar of Smoke”, (2012) hundreds more Palestinians died.

We commend Indy editors for promptly correcting Bar-Hillel’s false claim.

Read Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle

Here are the first few paragraphs of Adam Levick’s latest article at The Jewish Chronicle:

On Monday night, Israel formally accepted the Egyptian proposed ceasefire calling for an end to “all hostilities” between Hamas and Israel from the following morning.

Though the IDF halted its military operations, Hamas rejected calls to stop attacks and fired dozens of rockets at Israeli cities during the declared truce. After six hours of continued attacks, Israel announced it would resume its military operation and began attacking Hamas targets.

Despite this straightforward series of events, some media outlets found a way to obscure Hamas’s culpability, with the Guardian leading the pack. Even when the paper acknowledged that Hamas was still firing rockets, they somehow concluded that the “ceasefire was holding” and later managed to blame Israel’s eventual retaliation for causing it to collapse.

After the paper was criticised on Twitter, Guardian deputy editor Phoebe Greenwood defended the coverage, arguing in one Tweet that since Hamas never agreed to the ceasefire, their rocket attacks did not represent a violation of its terms.

Read the rest of the article here.

IDF responds to 6 hours of Hamas rocket fire, and Guardian blames Israel for breaking ceasefire!

As we noted about 30 minutes ago, the Guardian’s Live Blog pronounced that the ceasefire (which went into effect at 9:00 this morning) was ‘holding’ despite the dozens of rockets fired by Hamas since the morning, and the fact that world leaders, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, had forcefully condemned Hamas for violating the terms of the agreement.

However, roughly 20 minutes ago it was reported that the IDF had resumed military operations (after having ceased all attacks since 9AM in accordance with the agreement) in response to Hamas rocket fire, which prompted the following Guardian update:

newest

Here’s how the update is framed on their Israel page:

pic

It’s also the featured story on the blog itself, per the recently updated headline:

blog

This is simply surreal.

Dozens of Hamas rocket attacks evidently don’t count as a ceasefire violation according to the Guardian’s blog editor Matthew Weaver, but Israeli retaliation – six hours into the Hamas assault – constitutes an official end to the agreement. 

This isn’t just an obfuscation, but a complete and total fabrication. 

Challenge to UK media: name an army that goes to greater lengths than the IDF to protect civilians

Writing in Jerusalem Post on Friday, Amotz-El noted that “twenty-seven years after its establishment in the wake of the first intifada, Hamas was in its worst strategic situation ever”.

Amotz-El elaborated:

[It lost Syria] its longtime ally and host – after having gambled on President Bashar Assad’s defeat in his country’s civil war. 

Down with Syria went its Iranian sponsor’s financial infusions and arms shipments to Gaza, and also the cheerleading of Hezbollah, which this week remained conspicuously quiet even as Gaza came under flames.

Having lost Syria, Hamas went on to lose Egypt.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s wrath at Hamas is fully shared by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, all of which also loathe any threat to the Arab world’s established regimes. Finally, Hamas managed to ruin its fledgling harmony with the Palestinian Authority, just weeks after its much-heralded announcement of a unity government with Fatah.

In short, Hamas has isolated itself so hermetically that it is shunned by monarchies and republics, Sunnis and Shi’ites, Iranians and Americans, and a world that now sees Hamas as part of a trouble-making Islamist international that runs from Nigeria through Iraq to western China.

Even Hamas’s last ally, Turkey, said little this week when the Israel Air Force pounded targets in Gaza

However, despite its diplomatic isolation, Hamas still knew it had one trump card to play: provoking a war with Israel which would result in Palestinian civilian casualties, thus eliciting positive media coverage from a compliant Western media.

As Jeffrey Goldberg observed in his recent column, in the context of trying to explain Hamas’s objectives in provoking a war:

Mahmoud Abbas, the sometimes moderate, often ineffectual leader of the Palestinian Authority, just asked his rivals in Hamas a question that other bewildered people are also asking: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

Later in his op-ed, Goldberg provides an answer to Abbas:

Hamas is trying to get Israel to kill as many Palestinians as possible.

Dead Palestinians represent a crucial propaganda victory for the nihilists of Hamas. It is perverse, but true. It is also the best possible explanation for Hamas’s behavior, because Hamas has no other plausible strategic goal here.

This propaganda strategy, however, is dependent on Western media groups playing along, not only by highlighting every tragic Palestinian civilian death, but by also pretending that such casualties are not the result of Hamas’s cynical strategy of using human shields and other tactics meant to maximize the number of casualties.

To boot, the following heartbreaking photo and headline appeared in the print edition of The Independent on July 12th which highlighted the tragic case of a young Palestinian girl named Mariam Al-Masery.

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The Indy journalist who wrote the story, Kim Sengupta, also addressed the broader issue relating to the number of civilian deaths, and seemed incredulous in the face of IDF “claims” that the Hamas use of human shields (and related tactics) largely explains the phenomenon.

In the story’s sixteen paragraphs, only two present the Israeli side, with almost all of the remaining text providing details of the civilians’ deaths and quotes from Palestinian expressing their outrage.

Here’s one of the two paragraphs which even tries to present the Israeli side, though it immediately dismisses Israeli claims as running counter to the evidence: 

Many residents, however, maintain that missiles and bombs aimed at the homes of militants considered legitimate targets by the Israelis have also hit neighbouring family homes. This claim would run counter to repeated insistence by the Israeli authorities that the air strikes are being carried out with surgical precision to avoid collateral damage.

Of course, this is an absurd conclusion to reach, as the fact that ‘family homes’ were hit doesn’t in any way contradict IDF claims that “air strikes are being carried out with surgical precision to avoid collateral damage”. It simply means that such homes are placed in close proximity to military targets, and that the precision IDF strikes – no matter how carefully executed – obviously can’t guarantee 100% success at avoiding hitting civilian structures.  

(It’s actually quite telling that after more than 1300 Israeli strikes on terror targets thus far during the war – in the ‘densely populated’ strip – the number of Palestinians killed, combatants and non-combatants, is roughly 120. )

Of course, if the Indy journalist wanted to write a fair account of the civilian deaths, evidence abounds of Hamas culpability, whose leaders have explicitly acknowledged their human shield policy.

Additionally, the Indy journalist could have cited videos proving that Hamas places weapons caches in civilians areas, and how carefully the IDF works to attack the terror target while avoiding harming homes, schools and clinics:

Here’s another video of a precision strike:

Humanitarian tactics employed by the IDF include dropping leaflets, placing phone calls and sending text messages to Palestinians in harm’s way, and the ‘knock on the roof’ tactic (seen above).

It’s also worth noting, in the context of such reports imputing Israeli culpability in Palestinian deaths, that the Indy has thus far failed to note that almost all of the more than 800 rocket attacks on Israeli towns since the war began have been fired at civilians – each, therefore, clearly constituting a war crime.

The real story of the war – one which the UK media won’t tell – is how Hamas uses tactics which maximize the danger to their own civilians and intentionally targets all Israeli civilians, while the IDF goes to extraordinary lengths to protect both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

On Twitter recently, we asked a source cited in a Guardian Live Blog (who had criticized as ineffective IDF tactics of warning civilians prior to an attack on a terror target) to respond to a simple question:

Name one army in the world that goes to greater lengths than the IDF to protect civilians during war.

We’re still awaiting his response.

Hamas & IDF agree: Guardian wrong on usefulness of Israeli ‘knock on the roof’ warnings

post from about two hours ago at the Guardian’s Live Blog on the war dismissed as ineffective Israeli measures to warn Palestinians in Gaza before launching attacks on terror targets.

The post begins:

“warnings do not help save civilians lives as the Israeli military claims, according to the University of London’s Forensic Architecture centre at Goldsmiths which carried out a UN study into how the tactic operated during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.

The Guardian then quoted Eyal Weizman, director of the centre, who said:

The Israeli Defence Forces are again using a tactic in their attack on Gaza that they claim is aimed at saving lives—despite it having a track record of leading to the death of civilians, including women and children. So called “roof knock” strikes involve a drone firing a low- or none-explosive missile at the roof of a building that is to be destroyed. The missile is followed a short time later by a bomb that flattens the house—but exactly how long after is not known by the inhabitants.

The tactic first came to light after the 2008/9 offensive on Gaza. One of the case studies that we at Forensic Architecture produced for the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter Terrorism’s inquiry into drone strikes focused on an attack on the Salha family in Beit Lahiya on 9 January 2009. A missile was fired at the roof of the family’s home, but they did not know that this constituted a warning. After moments of terrified confusion, the family began to leave the house. However, before they could all safely leave, a bomb was dropped, and six women and children were killed.

At a time when most attacks in Gaza are on houses, the Israeli military is anxious to present themselves as trying to avoid civilian casualties. Yesterday it released a video showing a warning missile being fired at a house that it then deciding not to strike. However, in the attack on the home of Odeh Ahmad Mohammed Kaware, Defence for Children International Palestine reported that a warning missile was followed by a bomb that killed seven people, including five children. This should be taken as further confirmation that the use of this tactic should be stopped immediately.

Not only is it illegal to fire a missile at a civilian to warn them, the missiles also frequently penetrate the roofs they are intended to bounce off, further endangering civilian lives. Israeli military lawyers argue that after residents of a building have been warned, they can be considered as combatants and legitimately targeted. This is a gross misuse of international law that enables the Israeli military to justify attacks on buildings in built up areas, populated by civilians, that they would otherwise be unable to legally carry out

Finally, the Guardian posted a video to explain the group’s findings about one incident in 2009.

Ok, now let’s watch the following IDF video which highlights such methods:

Just IDF propaganda, you say?

Now listen to a Hamas spokesperson, commenting on a clip of the very same IDF operation: 

 

The Hamas spokesperson not only admitted that they use Palestinians human shields, but also tacitly admitted – per the IDF decision to abort the attack after civilians crowded on the roof – that such warnings do in fact save Palestinian lives.

But, who needs to consider such evidence when you have the timeless wisdom of forensic architects to rely on instead?

Does the Independent think Israel’s response to Hamas is ‘un-Jewish’?

What would be the appropriate UK response to thousands of rockets raining down on London, fired by an extremist movement dedicated to the country’s destruction, and one which forced thousands of Brits to take cover in bomb shelters?  

Do you think it’s safe to say that the British government would give its military leaders explicit orders to stop the rocket fire? Further, considering such a hypothetical scenario, is there any question that ‘enlightened’ voices in the media would support the government while it engaged in such a basic act of self-defense?

Of course, over the past couple of days, the nation responding to such a real threat hasn’t been the UK, but Israel.

So, naturally, after two days of anti-terror operations against Hamas to stop the rocket fire terrorizing its citizens, the Independent published a cartoon not only suggesting that Israel’s response has been ‘disproportionate’, but also seeming to imply that the response is un-Jewish.

Here’s the cartoon published yesterday in the Indy by Dave Brown, a cartoonist who (as Eylon Aslan-Levy writing at Tablet on the cartoon reminded us) drew the infamous cartoon during the 2nd Intifada of Ariel Sharon devouring Palestinian babies.

cartoonPay close attention to the text at the bottom of the graphic, which evokes the following Hebrew Bible verse (from Leviticus):

fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.

The Indy cartoon’s revision of these words to “an eye for a tooth…a hand for an eye…a life for a hand…a people for a life” not only accuses Israel of responding disproportionately, and arguably (with the words ‘a life for a people’) engaging in something akin to ethnic cleansing, but that Israel has forgotten its own Jewish ethical tradition.

First, regarding Brown’s use of the Bible verse:

It should be noted that the Jewish oral tradition (as codified in the Talmud) is explicit that this verse ‘an eye for an eye’ has a far more narrow meaning than most suppose. It doesn’t literally mean that if someone pokes out another’s eye, the punishment meted out should similarly consist of poking out the attacker’s eye. It is understood as a commandment simply that justice must be proportional.

So, has the IDF military response – a campaign initiated only as a last resort after cease-fire talks failed to stop the rockets – been proportional? 

Well, first we must remember that army has been narrowly targeting the instruments of Hamas terror – bombing concealed rocket launchers, launching infrastructures, training bases, terror tunnels and other military targets.

Further, any serious observer of the conflict would have acknowledge Israel’s strenuous efforts to avoid harming Palestinian civilians – despite the complication caused by Hamas purposely placing their instruments of war in civilian areas.

The IDF has routinely been warning Gaza civilians of intending attacks in order to limit casualties. This includes dropping leaflets and sending text messages to Palestinians who may be in harm’s way, phone calls to homes (used as hubs for terror activities) that are about to be bombed, and the ‘knock on the roof’ tactic where Israel deploys a ‘scare’ bomb which uses a loud noise to influence civilians to leave the targeted area. 

Again, ask yourself, would the UK go to such measures to warn their enemies of impending attacks if they were facing a similar threat? 

Moreover, it’s remarkable that such political cartoonists have once again failed to focus their righteous outrage and creative energies towards the Islamist extremist group in Gaza.  There are of course no cartoons taking aim at Hamas’s racist ideology, or their callous disregard for human life – not just Jewish life but Palestinian life as well. Hamas after all is an Islamic movement which regards the Hebrew Bible as a sacred text, and so would similarly seem bound by its ethical commandment to engage in proportionate justice, and, most importantly, to value life, first and foremost.  

Given Hamas’s religious tradition, how then are we to explain their recent acknowledgement that they’re targeting all Israelis civilians, their new warnings that they’ll once again begin launching waves of suicide bombings “on every bus, café and street”, and their leaders’ explicit support for the use of Palestinian human shields.

Would Indy editors ever sanction an op-ed or cartoon vilifying such blatant Palestinian disregard for the sanctity of human life as ‘un-Islamic’? 

No, of course they wouldn’t – any more than they would castigate US and British leaders for behaving in an ‘un-Christian’ manner for the huge civilian toll over the years of targeting Islamist fighters in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Well, at least if fairness and moral consistency represent professional values Indy editors aspire to, then perhaps they should consider avoiding such imperious, sanctimonious and hypocritical sermons to Jews as well.   

Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent slammed for misleading Tweet about Iranian arms shipment

Last night the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont tweeted an article from Haaretz/Reuters about a new UN report (obtained by Reuters) on the shipment of rockets intercepted in the Red Sea by the Israeli Navy in March. 

Here’s the text of Beaumont’s Tweet:

“Despite Israeli claims, UN panel decides missiles on the seized ship Kos were for Sudan NOT Gaza

However, here’s headline to the Haaretz story by Louis Charbonneau, published earlier in the day, that Beaumont linked to:

‘UN panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza

First, note Beaumont’s distortion of the Haaretz headline.  Though the headline only claimed, per the article, that the UN had determined that the ship itself (carrying the arms) was heading for Sudan, Beaumont twisted it to appear as if the UN had concluded that the arms (that the ship was carrying) were destined for Sudan – and not Gaza.

Indeed, if you read the article you’d see that the UN panel didn’t even address the question concerning the final destination of the arms, and certainly didn’t conclude that they were not heading for Gaza.  The article in fact noted Sudan’s role as a conduit for arms to Gaza.

The experts do not speculate in the report about why the arms were being sent to Sudan, a country which Western diplomatic and intelligence sources have told Reuters has in the past been a conduit for Iranian arms shipments to other locations in Africa, as well as the Gaza Strip.

In fact, the article clearly states that the UN report was primarily concerned with the narrow question of whether Iran was responsible for the shipment of arms, and thus in violation of the international arms embargo.

A UN expert panel has concluded that a shipment of rockets and other weapons that was seized by Israel came from Iran and represents a violation of the UN arms embargo on Tehran, according to a confidential report obtained by Reuters on Friday.

“The Panel finds that the manner of concealment in this case is consistent with several other cases reported to the (Security Council’s Iran Sanctions) Committee and investigated by the Panel,” the experts said.

“The Panel concludes that the shipment of arms and related material found aboard the Klos C is a violation of Iran’s obligations under paragraph 5 of resolution 1747,” they added, referring to the U.N. arms embargo on Tehran.

Indeed, the IDF never claimed - at the time of the interception – that the ship itself was heading to Gaza, only that the arms on the ship were to be smuggled by land from Sudan into Gaza via the Sinai.

 

Beaumont’s tweet twisted the text of the Haaretz/Reuters article to make it appear as if the UN had ruled out Gaza as a final destination for the arms – a distortion pointed out by a few Tweeters, including Yiftah Curiel (Spokesperson of the Israel Embassy in London), Peter Lerner (IDF Spokesman), Judge Dan (blogger at Israellycool) and this writer. 

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It doesn’t appear as if Beaumont has thus far responded to any of his critics.

Update: At some point following my reply (above) to Beaumont’s misleading Tweet, he blocked my account.