Guardian improves original headline to story on ALLEGED ‘Israeli tear gas’ fatality

The Guardian published this Reuters report today:

headlineThere’s one big problem. As you read the report it’s clear that, at this point, there are only “claims” by Palestinian “witnesses” that “an 85-year old Palestinian died after inhaling teargas fired by the Israeli army”.   The Israeli military is investigating the incident, and the allegation has not been corroborated.

Indeed, if you read reports elsewhere which cite the same Reuters story, you’ll see that a significant qualification was included:

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Even Al-Arabiya noted that the report was only based on Palestinian sources:

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Later in the day, Guardian editors changed the headline, adding quotes around ‘after inhaling tear gas’ and revising language in the strap line (“Villagers say…”) to indicate that the allegations are only based on what some Palestinians are telling the media.

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Finally, as past claims about Palestinians allegedly killed by Israeli tear gas demonstrate, responsible media outlets would be wise to follow this story closely and not base their reports merely on Palestinian sources.

Editor’s Note:  We were recently contacted by Guardian editors to explain that CiF Watch did not prompt the correction, and that their staff caught the error and made the change on their own. The title of this post has been amended accordingly.

Guardian/AP story on Tunisia’s Jews omits history of antisemitic persecution

An AP story written by Bouzza Ben Bouzza, and published by the Guardian on April 27, entitled ‘Jews ease back into Tunisia for famed pilgrimage‘, reports on a three-day Jewish pilgrimage (which took place over the weekend) to the Ghriba synagogue.  Ghriba is the oldest synagogue in N. Africa, and traces its origins to Jewish exiles who fled the destruction of the first Temple  in 586 BCE.

Rabbis at the entrance of El Ghriba synagogue Djerba, Tunisia, 1940's

Rabbis at the entrance of El Ghriba synagogue
Djerba, Tunisia, 1940’s

The pilgrimage to the Tunisian island of Djerba – where the ancient synagogue is located – is linked to the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer, and, in past years, has attracted thousands of Jews from Europe, Israel and the US.

The AP/Guardian story aptly describes some of the more interesting details of the synagogue, such as the following:

The site is rich with legend. The first Jews who arrived were said to have brought a stone from the ancient temple of Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Babylonians. The stone is kept in a grotto at the synagogue. Women and children descend into the grotto to place eggs scrawled with wishful messages on them.

The report also provides some proper historical context – such as the deadly Islamist attack on the synagogue in 2002 which significantly deterred Jewish participation in the pilgrimage for several years.  

At its peak in 2000, about 8,000 Jews came — many from Israel, Italy and France, where they or their forebears had moved over the years. Such crowds haven’t returned since an al-Qaida-linked militant detonated a truck bomb at the synagogue in 2002, killing 21 people, mostly German tourists — and badly jolting the now-tiny Jewish community.

And, the report also includes the following passage accurately citing events during the “Arab Spring” which affected the pilgrimage:

The pilgrimage was called off in 2011 in the wake of Tunisia’s revolution, when major street protests ousted longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia, and some ultra conservative Muslims called Salafis chanted anti-Semitic slogans at their rallies. Last year, the pilgrimage resumed on a tiny scale: Only 100 or so foreigners came. This year, community leaders hope 300 to 500 will have come.

However, the report then provides the following highly selective history of Tunisia’s Jews. 

Jews have been living in Djerba since 500 B.C. The Jewish population has shrunk to 1,500, down from 100,000 in the 1960s. Most left following the 1967 war between Israel and Arab countries, and Socialist economic policies adopted by the government in the late 1960s also drove away many Jewish business owners.

First, this truncated history entirely leaves out the oppression of Tunisia’s Jews during the Nazi period.

Jewish Virtual Library (JVL) explains:

In 1940, as Tunisia was subjected Vichy policy discriminatory, anti-Jewish legislation was implemented. By 1942, the Nazi’s were occupying Tunisia arresting Jewish leaders and sending many Jews to North African Nazi camps. According to Robert Satloff, “From November 1942 to May 1943, the Germans and their local collaborators implemented a forced-labor regime, confiscations of property, hostage-takings, mass extortion, deportations, and executions.” At least 160 Tunisian Jews were deported to European death camps.

Moreover, there is much about the roughly 99% decrease in Tunisia’s Jewish population during the latter half of the 20th century that the writer left out.

For instance, per JVL, even before the Six Day War antisemitic policies enacted by the Arab government caused many Jews to flee.

When Tunisia gained independence in 1956, the new government passed a series of discriminatory anti-Jewish decrees. In 1957, the rabbinical tribunal was abolished and a year later the Jewish community councils were dissolved.  The government also destroyed ancient synagogues, cemeteries, and even Tunis’ Jewish quarter for “urban renewal” projects.

Additionally, as JVL further explains, it wasn’t Tunisia’s economic policy which drove away Jews but, rather, antisemitic persecution and violence by local Arabs.

During the Six-Day War, Jews were attacked by rioting Arab mobs, while businesses were burned and the Great Synagogue of Tunis was destroyed. The government actually denounced the violence and appealed to the Jewish population to stay, but did not bar them from leaving.

The increasingly unstable situation caused more than 40,000 Tunisian Jews to immigrate to Israel and at least 7,000 more to France. By 1968, the country’s Jewish population had shrunk to around 10,000.

Whilst the Tunisian government may have historically treated their Jewish citizens a bit better than other Arab governments, the antisemitic persecution which largely served as a catalyst for the Jewish exodus certainly mirrors what occurred in the rest of the Middle East – a regional ethnic cleansing of Jews from Arab lands which continues to represent one of the most underreported crimes in recent history.

Cruel siege on Gaza by neighboring state: Tunnels, flooded with raw sewage, now to be destroyed

The smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt are a security threat and must be destroyed, a Jerusalem Cairo court ruled on Tuesday, responding to a petition brought by a group of activists in the wake of rocket firing and cross border attacks on Israel a cross-border attack, by jihadist elements who infiltrated from Gaza through the tunnelsthat killed 16 Egyptian border guards in August.

A Palestinian smuggler moves refrigerators through a tunnel from Egypt to the Gaza Strip under the border in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: AP)

A Palestinian smuggler moves refrigerators through a tunnel from Egypt into Gaza under the border in Rafah. (Photo: AP)

The Israeli Egyptian court ruling makes it obligatory that the government destroy the tunnels, according to Reuters.

Israel Egypt cannot tolerate a porous border that will continue to destabilize the Sinai Peninsula, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s national security adviser reportedly said.

Gaza, home to roughly 1.7 million people, has lived with border restrictions since Hamas’s violent takeover of the territory in 2007. Smuggling under the 15-kilometer border has circumvented official crossings and bypassed restrictions for many years.

Restrictions on the influx of goods into the territory has prompted Palestinians in Gaza to smuggle in luxury goods, weapons and cash through the illegal tunnels. Hamas officials are known to collect fees from tunnel operators.

An estimated 30% of goods that reach Gaza come through the tunnels

An Israeli Egyptian lawyer, Wael Hamdy, instigated the case because he was “worried about the state of national security” in his country after terror attacks prompted by lawlessness in the Sinai desert region.

The lawyer also said that, in addition to recent efforts by Jerusalem the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Cairo to close some tunnels Israel Egypt has recently resorted to other draconian and inhumane measures such flooding some of the more than 2000 active tunnels with raw sewage.

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The systematic siege on Gaza’s lifeline to the outside world has been met with  fierce condemnation silence from pro-Palestinian groups, assorted “human rights” organizations and, even more strangely, the Guardian.

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Guardian Gaza page, Feb. 27, 2013

Guardian photo caption invents an Israeli airstrike in Gaza

 

The Guardian published a post on Dec. 8 which contained 19 photos taken in Gaza on the day the Islamist terror group ‘celebrated’ their 25th anniversary: Khaled Meshaal attends Hamas anniversary rally in Gaza – in pictures. 

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Here’s one of the photos they included, taken by Reuters photographer Mohammed Salam.

Members of Hamas security forces stand guard

Here’s the caption:

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According to the caption, the building in the photo was destroyed by an Israeli strike during the Dec. 8 rally.

However, there have been no Israeli air strikes in Gaza since the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect on Nov. 21.

There have been a few violent border incidents and Gaza fishermen were arrested by the Israeli Navy on Nov. 28, but there have been no reports of airstrikes on Dec. 8, or on any day after the ceasefire – even on the website of Hamas.

Even the most minimal fact checking would have disproven the “witness” claim.

Please consider emailing Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott to seek a correction.

reader@guardian.co.uk

 

Related articles

 

His name is Yaakov: How the mainstream media dehumanize Israeli Jews

H/T Elder

When I first glanced at Elder of Ziyon’s post, “To Reuters, they aren’t just ‘Jewish settlers anymore“, the photo of a bloodied Israeli sickened me, but for reasons which went beyond the facts of the story – a Jew who was stoned by Arabs in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

I’ll explain. But first, the Elder post begins:

First there were “settlers.”

But that wasn’t inciting enough.

So we then had “Jewish settlers.”

But with overuse, it didn’t bring in the hate that journalists wanted to bring across.

So then came “Right-wing Jewish settlers.”

But even that didn’t capture the seething disgust that objective journalists wanted to convey towards them.

So now we have, from Daylife/Reuters:

Then, Elder posted the photo from Daylife/Reuters:

Elder then included the Reuters caption:

Extreme right wing Jewish settlers, one of them injured from a rock hurled by pro-Palestinian activists during a weekly protest, stand in front of their house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem December 30, 2011. Some 100 activists protested against the Jewish settlement in the predominantly Arab neighborhood and threw rocks towards a house occupied by the settlers leading them to confront the protesters, to minor clashes. [emphasis mine]

So, here is yet another example of the lazy political labeling of Israelis who reside in neighborhoods of Jerusalem where Jews lived for thousands of years – except for the period from 1949 to 1967, when Jordan cleansed Jews from the “East” section of the city.

But, the reason for my emotional reaction was that, unlike the “journalist” who wrote the caption, I personally know the victim of the Palestinian attack.

His name is Yaakov.

My wife and I have spent more than a few Shabbat dinners with Yaakov at the home of the Jerusalem Rabbi who presided over our wedding.

Yaakov is not an “extremist” in any sense of the word unless, of course, you consider an extremist to be any Jew who lives in neighborhoods across the arbitrary green line.

Yaakov is an observant, learned Jew who liberally and humbly imparts his wisdom and erudition on Torah (Hebrew Bible) and Halacha (Jewish law) to his family, friends and Shabbat guests.  But, Yaakov, like me, grew up in the U.S., and is also literate, witty and pithy in musing on the often farcical minutia of secular American pop culture.

Moreover, Yaakov is real, nuanced and certainly – as with everyone who inhabits this beautiful yet complicated nation – not an abstraction.

An extreme, right-wing Arab threw a rock at a man because he was a Jew – a Jew whose name is Yaakov.

Guardian Newspeak: Intentionally vague headline of the day

“The B vocabulary consisted of words which had been deliberately constructed for political purposes: words, that is to say, which not only had in every case a political implication, but were intended to impose a desirable mental attitude upon the person using them.” – from the definition of “Newspeak” in George Orwell’s dystopia, 1984.

Here’s a quintessentially Guardian headline, via a Reuters story, on the Palestinian policemen who opened fire without cause on Jewish civilians who had worshiped at Joseph’s Tomb:

For those unschooled in the Guardian Left strategy when events force them to report on innocent Jews murdered by Palestinians, see our previous post which listed and expanded upon the four main rules using, as a helpful illustration, Conal Urquhart’s report on the terrorist attack in Jerusalem. 

Here are the rules:

1: Never use the word “terrorist” or “terrorism” as such language is inherently loaded, and influenced by one’s subjective opinion on how to define the word.

2. Use passive language which may obscure the fact that an intentional act of violence was perpetrated by Palestinians against innocent Israeli civilians:

3: Use vague language meant to avoid, whenever possible, reaching even the most obvious (politically inconvenient) conclusions regarding such attacks:

4. Deflect responsibility from the terrorists who everyone knows committed the act by changing the subject or blaming Israel and blurring the causality:

In looking at the headline the first thing which jumps out is rule #1, as you’d have no idea from reading the headline that the “Policemen” who murdered an innocent Israeli civilian was a Palestinian Authority Policeman.

Moving along, we see #3 employed in reference to the “West Bank Holy Site”. Unless there’s a hitherto unknown distinct West Bank religion, with its own sacred sites, it would seem that the “Holy Site” referred to is a site holy to Jews, Joseph’s Tomb.

Also, in the sub-heading, rule #4 applies, as we are told that Israeli victims who had gone to Joseph’s Tomb were there “without permission”, thus blurring causality and deflecting responsibility for the attack – the mere presence of Jews, of course, acting as sufficient provocation for Palestinian gunfire. 

Finally, here’s what a headline (and accompanying text) about the incident would possibly look like if written by an editor free of such anti-Zionist ideological conditioning. 

Inconsolable victimhood?

This is cross posted from the blog, This Ongoing War

The Islamic Jihad terror organization announced earlier this afternoon (in a report quoted by Haaretz, as well as by Reuters) that one of its terrorists was killed on what it termed a “Jihadist mission” today – in other words, an attack aimed at Israelis. Islamic Jihad has been behind many of the rocket attacks that have targeted civilians in southern Israel from launching points in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Ynet, quoting Gaza Palestinian sources, says the dead man was 20, and a member of Islamic Jihad’s so-called military wing al-Quds Brigades (as if a terrorist organization has wings that are not inherently terrorist).

The IDF’s spokesperson confirmed the basic facts: one of its tanks fired on “two Palestinian suspects who approached the security fence” and the target was hit. Palestinian Arab medical sources in Gaza, also quoted by Haaretz, said a second person nearby was wounded.

As happens so often, this is only part of the story. Earlier today a mortar shell fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open area near one of the kibbutzim of Shaar Hanegev. Fortunately, no one was hurt and there was no damage, but this was not the intention of the jihadists. And unlike the death of the terrorist, the mortar attack is entirely unreported at this hour, outside of Israeli news channels.

Meanwhile, true to form, the major news agencies are already promoting the traditional photos(see below) of wailing, inconsolable friends and relatives… of the dead terrorist for heaven’s sake. His name happens, perhaps not by chance, to be Jihad Afanah. The narrative by which the jihadists and the Islamists are perpetual victims is, somehow, irresistible to the photo editors who, sad to say, know their customers well.

Here, below, are several of the agency photos already making their way around the world into the syndication channel. To us, the tone of sympathy and tragedy they sound is a disgrace. Not a new disgrace, but a disgrace. Either the editors at AP and Reuters believe the dead man is a terrorist, in which case why do they time and again frame the death by reference to bereavement and loss? Or they actually believe this dead man and his ilk are activists – and in that case their message seems to be: how very sad that a sincere young man died while trying to achieve his noble goal. Either way, the syndicated publication of pictures like these brings no credit to the editors or the agencies.

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