The Guardian tradition of tendentious, misleading editing in stories involving Israelis and Palestinians is again revealed in a comparison between a Dec. 9th Associated Press (AP) story on an American Christian indicted in Israel on charges of trying to blow up Muslim holy sites, and the Guardian version of that same story.
Whilst efforts by the government to formally codify Israel as the “Jewish nation-state” have been the object of some serious criticism by thoughtful observers, we’ve yet to see one critic explain how the bill which Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted to approve on Sunday would even minimally erode the civil rights of Israel’s non-Jewish minority.
Yet, as we’ve noted in three posts over the last two days, Times of London editors chose headlines for a Nov. 24th article by Gregg Carlstrom, another article on the same day by Catherine Philp, and a print edition version of Carlstrom’s report which all grossly mischaracterized the proposed bill based merely on the hyperbolic criticism of a few critics.
(You can read an excellent backgrounder on the legislation by Haviv Rettig Gur at Times of Israel, here)
After multiple complaints to Times of London, we received the following reply explaining the “revisions” to the articles:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
We noted that (contrary to the headline’s suggestion) the Jews in question had not attempted to enter, “storm” or force their way into the al-Aqsa Mosque. Rather, they attempted to pray at the Temple Mount compound (the holiest site in Judaism), the general site where the al-Aqsa Mosque is located.
Though the subsequent text of the article clarified what actually occurred at the Temple Mount, we expressed our concerns to Telegraph editors that the headline would likely mislead readers, and they agreed to revise it accordingly.
Here’s how it appears now:
We commend Telegraph editors for the substantive correction.
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.
Whilst it’s not clear if SodaStream’s decision to close their plant in the West Bank town of Mishor Adumim was undertaken due to pressure from BDS activists, the reaction by the BDS Movement to the company’s decision to move production of the fizzy drink makers to a new location in the Israeli Negev – placing the employment of 500 Palestinians in jeopardy – speaks volumes about the political extremism of the movement.
Yesterday, Oct. 29th, we posted about an article by Gregg Carlstrom in the Times of London which alleged that new Israeli Defense Ministry regulations would ban Palestinians from riding Israeli buses in the West Bank – a policy, it was suggested, reeked of ‘apartheid’.
We demonstrated that this claim was simply false.
While the new regulations, if implemented, would require Palestinian laborers entering Israel through the Eyal checkpoint to head home at night through the same checkpoint from which they entered, thus resulting in a serious reduction in the number of Palestinians returning on Israeli bus lines, there’s nothing in the new rules even suggesting that Palestinians would no longer be allowed to ride Israeli lines.
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
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.
Do Israeli officials or those closest to Binyamin Netanyahu dismiss European critics of Israel as “Nazi-hugging antisemites”?
The Guardian makes such a claim in an analysis (MPs’ vote on Palestine state recognition is part of growing international trend, Oct. 13) co-written by their Middle East editor Ian Black and Jerusalem correspondent Peter Beaumont.