CiF Watch reader fact-checks Telegraph claim; achieves positive result

A CiF Watch follower on Facebook named Rafi recently contacted us concerning an article in The Telegraph in late September which included the erroneous claim (in the strap line) that an El-Al flight was delayed “for hours” because of disruptions by Ultra-orthodox Jews”.

How did he determine the error? Well, he did some basic fact-checking by searching for the departure and arrival times on El-Al’s Live Flight Tracker. As it turns out, the flight departed 24 minutes late and arrived 14 minutes late compared to the previous 7 day average.

Here’s the graphic he created to illustrate the error.

telegraph false claim

Rafi pointed out that the story was the most read article on that day and later for the entire week – per the area circled in the graphic.

After multiple attempts by Rafi to get the claim revised, Telegraph editors eventually did change the strap line and removed the erroneous claim.

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Rafi added that they never posted a correction or acknowledged the error, but “just edited it on the sly”.

As CiF Watch counts on such vigilance by our many fans in keeping the media honest, please don’t hesitate to contact us if you spot a factual error at the Guardian (or elsewhere in the UK media).

You can email us at contactus@cifwatch.com, or like our Facebook page and send us a message.

(To those of you in Israel, here’s information on an upcoming CAMERA workshop for activists who want to hone their skills to counter and correct biased media coverage of Israel.)

CiF Watch prompts correction to false claim that Western Wall is Judaism’s holiest site

ww2An Oct. 23, 2013 story in The Telegraph by Dina Rickman titled ‘Meet the Women of the Wall: Israel’s answer to Pussy Riot included the claim that the Western Wall in Jerusalem is the holiest site in Judaism. 

Later that day, we contacted Telegraph editors and alerted them to the mistake.

We demonstrated that the Temple Mount (where the First and Second Temples stood) is in fact the holiest site in Judaism, while the Western Wall (The Kotel) is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently permitted to pray.  We forwarded them information relating to other news sites which corrected their original false claims about the Western Wall (many of which were prompted by communications with CAMERA), as well as a 2008 BBC correction to their false claim.

Telegraph editors responded positively to our complaint, informing us that they had corrected the piece accordingly, noting that the Western Wall is merely “the holiest site in the Jewish world where Jews are permitted to pray”.

Unfortunately, The Telegraph published an article just yesterday with another false claim about the the Western Wall.

A Nov. 18th article by Rob Pinfold (titled “Synagogue axe attack: why has violence surged in Jerusalem?) included the following sentence:

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Original passage in The Telegraph article, via a snapshot from Google

 

We contacted Telegraph editors today to alert them to the error, and they quite admirably revised the passage to again more accurately reflect the status of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. 

Here’s the revised passage:

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It’s important to stress that the religious significance of the Temple Mount represents more than a mere detail in the context of UK media reporting on the current Palestinian violence.  

As we’ve noted previously, not only have some foreign journalists covering the situation in Jerusalem been imputing extremism to Jews who peacefully campaign for the right to pray at the Temple Mount, but there is occasionally even the suggestion that such religious Jews are ‘provocatively’ encroaching on a purely Muslim holy site.  Thus, some readers may be left with the impression that recent Palestinian violence can at least partly be explained as an (understandable) reaction to this encroachment on ‘their’ sacred site. 

Exposing and combating such falsehoods about ‘root causes’ of violence in the region represents one of the primary objectives of this blog. 

Economist refers to Jews wanting to pray at the Temple Mount as “militants”

In a great example of the media’s use of language to blur moral differences within the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, The Economist expanded the common understanding of the word “militant” – a word fancied by those fearing “terrorist” is too judgmental a term for those committing violence for political ends – to include Jews wanting to peacefully pray at Judaism’s holiest site.

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From left to right per The Economist: Palestinian militants, and Jewish militants

 

An article published on Nov. 17th titled ‘The trouble at the Mountincluded the following passage:

THE Temple Mount in Jerusalem is one of the world’s most explosive bits of real-estate. It has started to rumble again in recent weeks, with demands by Jewish militants to extend prayer rights, riots by Palestinians and the killing of several Israelis in knife or car-ramming attacks.

So, the term “Jewish militant” includes:

1. A Jew who wishes to extend prayer rights to Jews at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Further in the article, the term is used again.

On the religious front, Jewish militants have stepped up their visits to the Haram, often to pray surreptitiously (for instance by pretending to speak into mobile phones).

So, now, the term “Jewish militant” includes:

1.  A Jew who wishes to extend prayer rights to Jews at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

2. A Jew who insidiously engages in Jewish prayer at the Judaism’s holiest site while “pretending to speak into mobile phones”.

However, that’s not all. The term is actually used a third time, in the following passage:

Moreover, privately financed militant groups have been buying houses in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods, which have in any case largely been cut off from their hinterland in the West Bank by Israel’s security barrier. 

So, now, the term “Jewish militant” includes:

1.  A Jew who wishes to extend prayer rights to Jews at the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

2.  A Jew who insidiously engages in Jewish prayer at the Judaism’s holiest site while “pretending to speak into mobile phones”.

3.  A Jew who – as part of a “privately financed” group – buys a home in a previously non-Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem.

Though there are good practical reasons for maintaining the status quo at the Temple Mount (where Jews can visit but not pray), it’s difficult to fathom how the British magazine can justify using a term which refers to those “favouring confrontational or violent methods in support of a political cause” to characterize Jews peacefully campaigning for the right to pray. 

Former UK minister Warsi tweets ‘morally indefensible’ equivalence in Jerusalem terror attack (Update)

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi was Minister of State for Faith and Communities, until her resignation after disagreeing with David Cameron’s position on the war in Gaza, a policy she described as “morally indefensible” in its support for Israel.  

The row over her resignation was widely (and quite sympathetically) covered by the Guardian. 

Here’s Warsi’s Tweet this morning in response to today’s terror attack, in which Palestinian terrorists massacred Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem.

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In addition to the morally indefensible equivalence she imputes, the first line of Warsi’s tweet was the kind of shamefully dishonest agitprop you’d expect to see at Electronic Intifada.  Israeli extremists have not of course “stormed the mosque”, nor “intimidated” Muslim worshippers – unless you consider the wish to peacefully recite Jewish prayers to be a form of “intimidation”.

Just about all the violence at the Temple Mount in recent memory has been instigated by Muslim extremists, targeting Israeli police and Jewish worshippers.

It’s truly #Tragic that such putatively respectable British leaders so willingly parrot the most crude and risible Palestinian propaganda about the root cause of ‘tensions’ in Jerusalem. 

(UPDATE)

The Guardian’s Live Blog just covered for Warsi in deciding to ignore the shameful tweet we cited above and, instead, highlight a more moderate tweet thirty minutes later.

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Guardian erases “Palestinians” from Reuters story on Jerusalem terror attack

At least five Israelis were killed and eight wounded Tuesday morning when Palestinian terrorists armed with knives, axes and guns began attacking Jews in a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers.  The terrorists, who were reportedly shouting “Allahu Akbar” during the attack, were eventually shot and killed by police.

The Guardian’s first report on the incident was a Reuters story which they posted at roughly 9 AM Israeli time.

First, here’s a snapshot of the original story, as it appeared on Reuters’ website, titled ‘Up to five dead in suspected Palestinian attack on Jerusalem synagogue‘.

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However, as you can see, the Guardian’s version (Deadly attack in Jerusalem synagogue) deleted the word “Palestinian” from the headline.

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But, that’s not the only revision to the Reuters article by Guardian editors.

Here’s the opening passage of the original Reuters report:

(Reuters) – Two suspected Palestinian men armed with axes and knives killed up to five people and wounded four in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before they were shot dead by police, Israeli media said, the worst such attack in years.

Now, here’s the Guardian’s version.

Two men armed with axes and knives killed up to five people and wounded four in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before they were shot dead by police, Israeli media said after the worst such attack in years.

Consistent with the omission in the  headline, the word “Palestinian” was deleted from the lead sentence, despite the fact that Israeli police have clearly identified the attackers as Palestinians from east Jerusalem.  (Indeed, other UK media outlets we reviewed have clearly identified the terrorists as Palestinian.)

Once again, the Guardian has demonstrated their institutional bias when reporting on Israeli-Palestinian issues – specifically, a pattern of obfuscating even the most unambiguous examples of Palestinian culpability for terror, violence and incitement.

(See also CAMERA’s recent blog post, ‘In CNN Headline on Jerusalem Terror, Integrity is Another Casualty‘)

CiF Watch suggestions for Palestinians who want to ‘ease tensions’ in Jerusalem

Though Benjamin Netanyahu, John Kerry and Jordan’s King Abdullah met recently to address the “recent surge of violence in Jerusalem”, the herds of independent minds in the UK media have essentially settled on a narrative to explain the “tension” in the holy city: that demands by some Jews for prayer rights at the Temple Mount incite Palestinians, thus increasing tension and violence. 

Whilst even beyond the UK media, most opinion leaders have narrowly focused on what Israeli leaders can do to calm the situation in Jerusalem and prevent an escalation, we here at CiF Watch tend to fancy the progressive notion that Palestinians possess moral agency, and therefore have a role to play in any plan to address rising tensions. 

So, inspired by a recent post at a site known for its decidedly unconventional take on the news, here’s our list of ways Palestinians can “ease the tension” in Jerusalem.

1.  If you’re a Palestinian driving your car in Jerusalem, resist the urge to slam your vehicle into a crowd of innocent pedestrians merely because they’re likely to be Jewish.  The impact of two tons of steel crashing into a human body tends to break bones, rupture organs and cause death for those in the vehicle’s path – thus escalating tensions in Jerusalem.

2. If you’re a Palestinian and happen to be carrying a knife in Jerusalem, resist the urge to stab someone with it merely because he or she is a Jew.  Knives tend to damage organs, cause profuse bleeding, and could cause death – thus escalating tensions in Jerusalem.

3. If you’re a Palestinian and happen to be carrying a gun in Jerusalem, resist the urge to shoot a Jew merely because you disagree with his or her political beliefs.  Bullets can cause massive hemorrhaging, rupture organs and result in death or serious injury – thus escalating tensions in Jerusalem. 

4.  If you’re a Palestinian and you hear radical Islamists or even “moderate” Palestinian leaders warn you that the al-Aqsa mosque is in danger, and you must defend the mosque by rioting, attacking Jews or becoming a ‘martyr’, resist this urge. In reality, the mosque is not actually in danger and doesn’t need to be defended.  Further, rioting, martyrdom, and spilling Jewish blood all tend to escalate tensions in Jerusalem. 

5. More generally, if you’re a Palestinian and get the urge to do something that you think might cause Jews to stop living, don’t do that thing.  Again, killing Jews tends to escalate tensions in Jerusalem. 

6.  Finally, if you’re a Palestinian, consider activities with a low risk of killing Jews, such engaging in the political process, organizing a peaceful protest or participating in interfaith prayers at the Mount.  

Trust us on this: activities which tend not to kill Jews are more likely to ease tensions in Jerusalem than activities with a high risk of killing Jews.

Guardian omits key context in quote by Israel spokesman about Mads Gilbert

Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor, commentator and “radical Maoist politician” who openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to murder thousands of Americans on 9/11.

Mads Gilbert

Gilbert was also one of the authors of a letter published in the medical journal Lancet during the Gaza war which accused Israel of intentionally “massacring” Palestinian women and children. The journal’s editor later apologized for the letter, explaining that it “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.”

More recently, Gilbert was in the news after he was banned ‘for life’ from entering Israel.

Though the Guardian and Independent both covered Gilbert’s banning, a look at the way in which they cited a quote from the Israel Foreign Ministry about Gilbert is quite revealing.

Here are the key passages in The Independent’s report on Nov. 14th by Ben Lynfield:

Dr Gilbert is on the left-wing fringe in Norway. In 2001, he told Dagbladet that the 9/11 attacks in the US were a result of decades of Western foreign policy and that he supported terrorist attacks against the US in that “context”.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Paul Hirschon, recalled those remarks yesterday, adding: “He’s not on the side of decency and peace and he’s got a horrible track record. I wouldn’t be surprised if his acquaintances are among the worst people in the world.”

Now, here are the key passages in a report in The Observer (sister site of the Guardian) on Nov. 15th by Kate Shuttleworth, which uses the same quote by Hirschon:

During the war, Gilbert charged that Israel was committing “state terrorism at the highest levels”.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Paul Hirschon, replied Dr Gilbert was “not on the side of decency and peace and he’s got a horrible track record. I wouldn’t be surprised if his acquaintances are among the worst people in the world.”

Did you notice the differing accounts of Hirschon’s comments?

The Indy made it clear that Hirschon was responding to Gilbert’s support for al-Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11 when suggesting that he “was not on the side of decency”, while the Guardian omitted this context, making it appear as if Hirschon was merely responding to the Norwegian doctor’s criticism of Israel.

Further, CiF Watch contacted Paul Hirschon who noted to us that he didn’t speak to Shuttleworth or anyone from the Guardian about their story, and that it was during his conversation with The Independent about Gilbert’s support for the al-Qaeda attacks that he opined that the Norwegian activist was “not on the side of decency and peace”.

Whatever the reason for Shuttleworth’s omission, the bottom line is that Guardian readers were denied key information which would make Hirschon’s criticism of Gilbert possible to understand.

Hamas official’s Guardian op-ed includes lie that the group is NOT antisemitic

No, an op-ed published in the Guardian on Nov. 14th (Judge Hamas by the measures it takes for its people) was not the first time a Hamas member was granted a forum by the media group.  

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Guardian, Nov. 14th

 

Over the past couple of years the Guardian has published commentaries by the deputy head of Hamas’s political bureau, Musa Abumarzuq, Hamas’s ‘Prime Minister’ Ismail Haniyeh, their head of international relations Osama Hamdan, and advisor Azzam Tamimi.

However, what stands out in the piece by Ahmed Yousef (senior political adviser to Ismail Haniyeh), which attempts to rebrand the Islamist terror group as a benign democratic political movement, is a claim in the following passage, which follows a risible defense of their (evidently misunderstood) racist charter.

Were pundits to truly scrutinise Hamas’s actions since its inception, they would find not a single official statement or position that is based on denigrating another faith, certainly neither Judaism nor Christianity. Nor can anyone produce a shred of evidence that Hamas formally encourages prejudice against anyone’s ethnicity.

Though we know by reading public opinion polls that Palestinian society is nearly universally compromised by the acceptance of anti-Jewish bigotry, you don’t need to even burden yourself with fisking the methodologies of such empirical analyses, or to even read the group’s antisemitic founding charter, to familiarize yourself with Hamas’s ‘official’ embrace of the most racist narratives about the alleged danger posed by international Jewry.

Indeed, antisemitism can accurately be characterized as “a major pillar in the ideology of Hamas”, and Hamas’s state-run media consistently ‘explains’ to Palestinians the evil character of Jews – not merely Israelis or Zionists, but “Jews”.

Whilst there are countless examples of ‘official’ statements “denigrating” Jews (documented by sites such as Palestinian Media Watch and MEMRI), here are just a few videos and quotes:

Videos:

Top Hamas Official Osama Hamdan: Jews use blood in their Passover Matzos

Hamas top leader Mahmoud Al Zahhar: Jews are “blood suckers” and “wild beasts” who deserve to be annihilated.

 Quotes:

Sermon delivered by ‘Atallah Abu Al-Subh, former Hamas minister of culture, which aired on Al-Aqsa TV, April 8, 2011, translation by MEMRI

The Jews are the most despicable and contemptible nation to crawl upon the face of the Earth, because they have displayed hostility to Allah.

Dr. Yussuf Al-Sharafi, Hamas representative, April 12, 2007; as reported by Palestinian Media Watch, April 23, 2007

…the Jewish faith does not wish for peace nor stability, since it is a faith that is based on murder: ‘I kill, therefore I am’… Israel is based only on blood and murder in order to exist, and it will disappear, with Allah’s will, through blood and Shahids [martyrs].

Sheikh Dr. Ahmad Bahar, acting Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, April 20, 2007; as reported by Palestinian Media Watch, April 23, 2007

This is Islam, that was ahead of its time with regards to human rights in the treatment of prisoners, but our nation was tested by the cancerous lump, that is the Jews, in the heart of the Arab nation…

Official Hamas Media:

Children’s Program on Hamas TV (Al-Aqsa TV, April 6-13, 2007), featuring Farfur – a copy of Mickey Mouse - entertains children while advocating the murder of Jews.

Host Saraa, a young girl: “Sanabel, what will you do for the sake of the Al-Aqsa Mosque? How will you sacrifice your soul for the sake of Al-Aqsa? What will you do?”

Sanabel (a young Palestinian girl on the phone): “I will shoot.”

Farfur, a Mickey Mouse character in a tuxedo: “Sanabel, what should we do if we want to liberate…”

Sanable: “We want to fight.”

Farfur: “We got that. What else?”

Saraa: “We want to…”

Sanabel: “We will annihilate the Jews.”

Saraa: “We are defending Al-Aqsa with our souls and our blood, aren’t we, Sanabel?”

Sanabel: “I will commit martyrdom.”…

Despite our frequent criticism of UK media outlets, this blog rarely accuses commentators and media outlets of engaging in outright ‘lies’.  

However, it speaks volumes that Guardian editors chose to publish the claim that Hamas is NOT antisemitic – an inversion of reality so complete that it could only be expressed (or accepted as reasonable) by those immune from the cognitive dissonance normally affecting those who possess any measure of honesty or integrity.

The tortuous un-logic of Will Self, a Jewish un-Jew

Cross posted from the blog Simply Jews

Reading an excellent article in Contentions, What Has the Guardian Got Against Jews?, I couldn’t help myself but click on a linked article by Will Self How I Stopped Being a Jew by Shlomo Sand and Unchosen: The Memoirs of a Philo-Semite by Julie Burchill – review.

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Guardian contributor Will Self

What can I say? The article starts, as is proper for an article written by a writer – a member of the most narcissistic guild (save, probably, that of the Hollywood celebs) – with a highly personal statement:

In 2006, as the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were undertaking their second major incursion into Lebanon, I resigned as a Jew.

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What the Guardian won’t report: The role of incitement in fomenting terrorism

Despite the recent briefing for foreign reporters by Yossi Kuperwasser of the Israel Strategic Affairs Ministry on the role of Palestinian incitement in the recent wave of riots and terror in Jerusalem, we don’t expect journalists to deviate from their normal script which effectively blames Jewish prayer right activists for the Palestinian violence.

For those interested in learning more about this rarely covered and extremely dangerous phenomenon, here’s the slide show given by Kuperwasser to reporters, which includes examples of Palestinian officials glorifying terror, demonizing Jews and denying Jewish history.

(Youtube videos weren’t successfully embedded into the slide. So, you’ll need to click on the Youtube links to open a new page.)

 

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.

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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”.

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CiF Watch prompts Indy correction to claim about Muslim prayer at the Mount

In addition to the bizarre suggestion by Ben Lynfield at The Independent that recent violence in Jerusalem can be attributed to Israeli restrictions on Muslim “access to al-Aqsa Mosque”, his Nov. 6th report included the following historical error concerning the history of Muslim prayer at the Temple Mount Compound.
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Lynfield omits the Crusader period (1099 to 1187) in which Christian prayer was of course permitted. (In the 13th century, there were several years of additional Crusader control, before Muslim rule was re-established in 1244.)

After contacting Indy editors, they revised the passage to note the period when Christians ruled the holy city.

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We commend Indy editors on the prompt correction.

 

The Guardian misrepresents Netanyahu’s comments on rioters

A Nov. 9th article by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Peter Beaumont, on recent Arab protests in response to the deadly police shooting of a man in the Galilee town of Kufr Kana (Violence spreads across Israel after shooting in Galilee, Nov. 11) included a clear distortion of recent comments by Israel’s prime minister.

Here are the relevant passages from Beaumont’s report:

Amid calls for protests in Israeli Arab towns and a general strike, Israeli police raised their alert to the second highest level of preparedness. The police’s internal investigations department is looking into the shooting to determine whether proper protocol was followed.

The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in comments before the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, said he has ordered officials to examine whether citizenship could be removed from those participating in demonstrations.

However, as official transcripts from Netanyahu’s cabinet meeting clearly indicate, he was asking to examine whether citizenship could be removed from those specifically calling for the destruction of Israel.

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Beaumont’s text, regarding who precisely Netanyahu was referring to when he spoke of ‘revoking citizenship’, would lead readers to believe that the prime minister of Israel is seeking a draconian response to those merely participating in benign “demonstrations”  -  a significant mischaracterization of his cabinet meeting remarks. 

UK media lie begins: Jewish prayer rights activists cause Palestinian terrorism

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Chaya Zissel Braun (3 months), killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem on Oct. 22

The question of whether the recent increase in Palestinian terror attacks – which has included two lethal stabbings, and the murder of three Israelis by Palestinians who intentionally ran their vehicles into crowds of pedestrians in Jerusalem – will one day be categorized as the start of a new intifada is debatable.  

However, we can already see how the UK media will likely be framing the story if indeed the uptick in deadly attacks continue and increase: that demands by some Jews to be able to pray at the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism) is responsible for the violence. 

A Nov. 6th article by the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont, following the two vehicular terror attacks, opined that “Demands for greater access have been blamed by Israelis and Palestinians for a recent increase in violent confrontations in Jerusalem”.

The Economist suggested – in an article in their print edition on Nov. 8th titled Temple Madness - that “dangerous campaign for Jewish prayer rights” is a form of “Jewish agitation” which is driving Palestinians to violence.

And, Ben Lynfield of The Independent – in a Nov. 10th report titled “Fears of new intifada: Israel is hit by wave of Palestinian violence linked to concerns over al-Aqsa mosque – was even more brazen in arguing that the recent deadly attacks on Israelis “was triggered largely by a Palestinian perception of an Israeli threat to al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest shrine.”

There is, of course, no threat to the al-Aqsa Mosque, and Israel’s prime minister has been adamant about the need to preserve the status quo at the holy site – where Jews are allowed to visit the site, but not to pray.

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Did Daniel Barenboim use a fake Rabin quote on the pages of the Guardian?

Daniel Barenboim is an Israeli conductor and pianist who currently serves as the musical director of Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin. He’s also quite outspoken on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and published an op-ed at the Guardian  (Germany must talk straight with Israel, Nov. 10) arguing that Germany – due to its historic ties to the Jewish state – must take a more activist approach to coax Israel into making peace.

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Whilst the largely one-sided nature of Barenboim’s imputation of Israeli responsibility for the conflict is par for the course at the Guardian, one purported quote from his op-ed warrants closer attention.

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