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.

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.)

 

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.

 

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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Guardian falsely claims right-wing Jews want to pray ‘inside al-Aqsa Mosque’

Whilst there is indeed a movement to allow Jews to pray at the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism), there is no movement by religious Jews to pray inside the al-Aqsa Mosque, a mosque located on the Temple Mount compound.

Yet, a Guardian video (which accompanied a Nov. 5th article by Peter Beaumont) on the recent terror attack in Jerusalem, as well as ongoing Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount, included the following claim about the ’cause’ of the violence at the Mount, at the 1:23 mark into the video:

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Guardian Tweet on Jerusalem terror attack: Israel police shoot dead driver…

A couple of hours ago, a Palestinian from east Jerusalem affiliated with Hamas plowed his vehicle into a crowd of people at a light rail station along the seam-line between the east and west sections of the city, killing one and injuring 14, in what was clearly a terror attack.

Here’s a video showing some of the deadly attack.

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Has there been even one recent incident of Jews attacking Muslims at the Temple Mount?

The question in our headline was inspired by an interesting post published at CAMERA’s blog Snapshots about an article in Haaretz which suggested (in both the headline and text) that the violence at the Temple Mount is initiated equally by both Jewish and Muslim worshippers.

haaretz temple mount two sides

Haaretz, Oct. 19th

Closer to the focus of this blog, you’d be hard pressed to find any UK newspaper acknowledging what any neutral observer of the frequent riots on the Mount would of course understand: that it is almost exclusively Palestinian Muslim visitors to the site “who routinely attack police and target Jewish worshipers” at the Temple Mount.

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‘Mainstream’ UK newspaper wildly claims Jews ‘stormed’ al-Aqsa Mosque

The hyperbolic and inaccurate claim that Jews “storm” the al-Aqsa mosque (or often even “invade” the mosque) in Jerusalem is typically only advanced by the Palestinian and Arab media (and other anti-Isarel voices) to characterize Jews who visit the larger Temple Mount compound where the mosque is located.

It is also the location where the First and Second Jewish Temples stood, and is the holiest site in Judaism.

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Indy buries shooting of Yehuda Glick, focuses instead on Temple Mount closing

For the second time in a week, the British newspaper The Independent has buried the lead in a story involving a Palestinian terrorist attack on Israelis.

We recently noted that an Oct. 23rd article in the Indy featured news on a briefly detained Palestinian stone thrower, while relegating the terrorist murder of a Jewish infant to a relatively brief mention at the end of the article.

Now, here’s how the same paper covered yesterday’s news regarding the shooting of Rabbi Yehuda Glick by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem. 

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Who’s more “far-right”, Yehuda Glick or the Palestinian who tried to murder him?

A reporter working in the international press corps here understands quickly that what is important in the Israel-Palestinian story is Israel. If you follow mainstream coverage, you will find nearly no real analysis of Palestinian…ideologies, or profiles of armed Palestinian groups…Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate – Former AP correspondent Matti Friedman

The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont penned two articles today on the attempted murder of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for Jewish rights on the Temple Mount.

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Snapshot of the Guardian’s Israel page, Oct. 30

Glick, who’s recovering from multiple bullet wounds at a Jerusalem hospital, was shot outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center by a Palestinian man from east Jerusalem named Mu’taz Hijazi, a former prisoner (for terror offenses) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) member.

(PIJ  was formed by Palestinian extremists in Gaza during the 1970s and is committed to the destruction of the Jewish state through Jihad, and the creation of an Islamic state ‘from the river to the sea’.  The group was responsible for scores of deadly attacks on Israeli civilians – including large-scale suicide bombings.)

Hijazi was shot and killed by police today during an attempt to arrest him for the shooting.

Including the headlines, strap lines, photo captions and text, the term “far-right” was used seven times in reference to Glick in the two Guardian articles.  Though Beaumont alluded to the fact that Hijaz served time in an Israeli prison for “security” offenses, no similarly ideologically pejorative term was used to characterize him.  Nor was there any mention of his PIJ affiliation.

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Economist deceives in citing partial quote by Israeli MK about the Temple Mount

Mount of Troubles‘, published in the print edition of The Economist on Oct. 18th, included the following claim (underlined in red):

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However, that sentence only includes part of what Feiglin said, and omits important context.
According to a report on Feiglin’s visit to the Mount by Israel National News, he was talking specifically about Sukkot, and protesting the police decision to ban Jews from visiting the site during that Jewish holiday – due to a recent surge in Arab riots and attacks on police and Jewish worshippers.
 
Here are the relevant passages.

Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin (Likud) attacked the Israeli police’s decision to close the Temple Mount to Jewish worshipers on Sukkot.

Sukkot is one of the three Jewish pilgrimage holidays that in ancient times required Jews to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem – a practice maintained today.

The decision to bar Jewish worshippers comes following an onslaught of violent Arab riots against police and Jewish visitors to the mount.

“The person responsible for this is the Prime Minister (Binyamin Netanyahu). I call on the prime minister to order an immediate removal of all Muslims from the Temple Mount during Sukkot. This would allow Jews to visit freely and safely on the holiday.” 

Unless they have another source that we weren’t able to find, the passage in The Economist is extremely misleading as it fails to include a key part of the quote, as well as vital context about the scope and motivation of Feiglin’s demands.  He evidently was referring to visiting rights for Muslims during Sukkot, and only in reaction to the police decision to ban Jews during the holiday due to Muslim riots.

(Alternately, according to his Facebook page, Feiglin was even more narrowly calling for the removal of only Muslim rioters from the site.)

To be clear, Feiglin’s views regarding the Temple Mount (and many other issues) are in fact extreme and morally indefensible. Nonetheless, The Economist – as with all serious newspapers, magazine and journals – has the responsibility to report accurately on even those public figures their journalists don’t view sympathetically, or whose opinions they find offensive.