(See two important updates at the end of this post)
Earlier this month, the publishing house HarperCollins was the object of much negative publicity when it was revealed that they omitted Israel from maps in atlases sold to schools in the Middle East.
A spokesman for the HarperCollins subsidiary that specializes in maps told the British Christian newspaper, The Tablet, that including Israel would have been “unacceptable” to their customers in the Gulf and the amended map incorporated “local preferences.” However, following the embarrassing row that ensued, HarperCollins expressed regret for the omission, and assured concerned parties that the product had been removed from sale, and all the remaining stock pulped.
More recently, The Economist (in a Jan. 10thstory in their print edition about shifting economic power and political influence in the Gulf) published this “amended” map of the region.
Beaumont’s report begins with these opening paragraphs, which lead to a passage blaming Israel for the breakdown:
This was a year that tested – largely to destruction – the notion you can have stability and quiet in the absence of a Middle East peace process. Instead, 2014 in Israel and the Palestinian territories was marked by a return to conflict in Gaza, which claimed over 2,200 lives, by increasing violence and tension on both sides, continued Israeli settlement building, and the introduction of a worrying religious aspect to the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
The fulcrum around which all this turned was the breakdown of renewed US-brokered attempts to move towards a final settlement of the conflict, which collapsed in April amid mutual recriminations after Israel reneged on an agreement to release a third batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
However, as Peter Beaumont acknowledged in a Guardianreport published on April 29th, the circumstances surrounding Israel’s reluctance to release the final prisoners were much more complicated, and can’t reasonably be framed as an Israeli failure to abide by its commitments.
“A former member of the Palestinian national football team remains on hunger strike over his imprisonment by Israel without charge…
“Mahmoud Sarsak, 25, has refused food for 80 days, since 19 March. He began his hunger strike after his “administrative detention” order was renewed for the sixth time.”
“He was arrested in July 2009 while on his way from his home in Gaza to a national contest in the West Bank.”
“Sarsak’s family deny that he is a member of any militant organisation.”
However, as we noted at the time, the Guardian failed to inform readers that Sarsak – when he wasn’t playing football – was allegedly an active member of the military wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and that the Israeli Supreme Court had upheld his detention out of concerns he would rejoin the terror organization if released.
A Jan. 1 article published in the Guardian’sGlobal Development section by Liz Ford started off promising enough, with a rare look into the culture of misogyny, rape, spousal abuse and honor killings in Palestinian society.
The article begins thusly:
A comedy series and a ‘Judge Judy’-style show will be among the programmes aired across the Palestinian territories in 2015, as part of a multimedia project to raise awareness of, and seek to prevent, violence against women and girls.
The Ma’an Network, an independent, non-profit media organisation that broadcasts across the West Bank and Gaza….will air shows that tackle often taboo subjects, such as marital rape, over the next three years.
The programmes will be supported by a series of workshops in more remote, conservative areas to discuss violence prevention.
The Guardian then provided some background:
Violence against women in my country is still widespread,” said Raed Othman, founder and general director of the network. “Women are still killed because of ‘honour’… if families think they have a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Still in my country there is significant violence against women – economic violence against women, social violence, verbal violence against women.
In order to focus on the most egregious problem with a Christmas day Guardianeditorial on the persecution of Christians worldwide, we’ll only briefly note the editorial’s risible opening paragraph which characterizes the 2003 invasion of Iraq as “the greatest catastrophe to strike the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East since the Mongol invasions”.
Though you may wish to ask Guardian editors how the toppling of Saddam Hussein by US and British forces – and the subsequent mass exodus of Iraqi Christians at the hands of Islamist extremists – influenced regimes beyond Iraq’s borders to persecute their own Christian communities, we’ll narrowly deal with their obfuscation of Israel’s progressive advantage amidst an unprecedented cleansing of Christians in the Muslim Mid-East.
The Telegraph’s 2014 World News Reviewof the biggest stories in politics and culture included international news stories such as the disappearance of flight MH370, the crisis in Ukraine, the bloody march of ISIS jihadists and, of course, the war between Israel and Hamas.
The Guardian tradition of tendentious, misleadingediting 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.
Under any version of a ‘Jewish nation-state bill’ which may eventually be voted on in the Israeli Knesset, one thing is certain: Arab citizens of the state would NOT become “second class citizens”.
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 inthreeposts 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:
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:
A few hours ago, we posted about a wildly inaccurate and propagandistic headline in a Nov. 2nd article at the British newspaper, The Telegraph.
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 otheranti-Isarelvoices) to characterize Jews who visit the larger Temple Mount compound where the mosque is located.
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.