Harriet Sherwood yawns as Hamas orders closure of Gaza media outlets

A guest post by Gidon Ben-Zvi 

Poor Harriet Sherwood, missing the big picture while obsessively reporting about the latest round of Middle East peace talks that promise to end the six-decade-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a mere nine months.

While Sherwood, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, breathlessly relayed US President Barack Obama’s praising of the rebooted peace process, the Hamas-led government in Gaza – located a mere 50 miles away from Israel’s currently undivided capital city – was shutting down uncooperative media outlets in the territory.

Journalists in Ramallah protest against a previous clamp-down on press freedom by Hamas

Journalists in Ramallah protest against a previous clamp-down on press freedom by Hamas

In a July 29 post by the Guardian’s media blogger, Roy Greenslade, Gaza’s Attorney General Ismail Jaber was quoted as saying that the broadcaster Al-Arabiya and news agency Maan “fabricated news” that “threatened civil peace and damaged the Palestinian people and their resistance” to Israel.

Thankfully for freedom loving journalists such as Sherwood, this latest human rights violation by the demopathic Hamas movement is expected to be temporary – although when precisely the offices will actually be allowed to resume operations remains a question mark.

Sherwood’s unwillingness to shed a bright light on Hamas’ latest crackdown on ‘counter-revolutionary’ voices represents a glaring and dangerous ideologically driven moral blind-spot - denying her significant readership access to uncomfortable facts about the neighborhood bullies who share a volatile border with Israel.

According to the independent watchdog organization Freedom House, the media in Gaza are not free. Following its takeover of Gaza, Hamas replaced the PA Ministry of Information with a government Media Office and banned all journalists not accredited by it; authorities also closed down all media outlets not affiliated with Hamas, whose security forces have allegedly tortured detainees.  Furthermore, Hamas has significantly restricted freedoms of assembly and association, with security forces violently dispersing public gatherings of Fatah and other groups.

Now, none of this is meant to imply that Sherwood can’t find Gaza on a map. Bright, curious and well-read, the Guardian’s intrepid Jerusalem correspondent has indeed filed reports about the goings-on in Gaza. Yet, she seems impervious to any news item that may distract her readers from the Israel-as-Goliath fable – and often fails to adequately fact check claims made by her Palestinian protagonists.

Yet, the broader issue is Sherwood’s chronic myopia vis-à-vis alleged human rights violations by Hamas against its own people.

And when facts prove to be stubborn and persistent, Sherwood simply tortures the English language in an attempt to whitewash any pesky Palestinian human rights abuses. Indeed, it takes an imagination most fertile to conceive of a group a group recognized as a terrorist movement by the United States, the European Union, the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan as merely “conservative“.

Indeed, Sherwood’s selective reporting is taking place at a most inopportune time. Try as she may to turn a blind eye, human rights violations in Gaza – not to mention the Palestinian Authority – are reportedly increasing. According to the Palestinian Independent Commission For Human Rights (ICHR) report, 2012 saw a 10 percent increase in the number of complaints about human rights abuses by the PA and Hamas, compared with 2011.

According to, Randa Siniora, executive director of ICHR, many complaints were related to arbitrary and political detentions, as well as torture and mistreatment.  The organization recommends that the PA and Hamas stop violating freedom of expression by interrogating Palestinians who are simply expressing their political views.

Why hasn’t Ms Sherwood followed up on the findings and recommendations of this report? Are not the alleged human rights violations of Israel’s presumptive peace partners of any relevance to the final configuration of a Palestinian state? 

Whilst Sherwood relentlessly reports every slight endured by Palestinians at the hands of Israelis, she evidently sees nothing newsworthy about severe abuses perpetrated by Hamas against its civilian population.

Lying by omission is lying by either omitting certain facts or by failing to correct a misconception, and it appears that Sherwood has made a career out of overplaying news stories about every conceivable Israeli miscue, while leaving out information that would detract from the Palestinian victim narrative.

Her ho-hum reaction to the horrific treatment of her cherished Palestinians effectively perpetuates the racist assumption that Palestinians lack moral agency.

And now…back to the negotiating table!

(Gidon Ben-Zvi is a Jerusalem-based writer who regularly contributes to Times of Israel and the Algemeiner.)

How the British media have covered news regarding Omar Misharawi’s death

newspapers2We recently noted that on March 12 the Guardian’s media blogger Roy Greenslade corrected his erroneous Nov 15 report (a day after the start of the Gaza war) that an Israeli missile killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi, Omar, as well as Jihad’s sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

Greenslade, as with journalists at numerous other news outlets over the past week, noted in his new report that on March 6 the UN issued an advance version of its report on the war which concluded that Misharawi was likely killed by an errant Palestinian missile, not by the IDF. (This information in the report was first discovered by Elder of Ziyonwho also was one of the few bloggers who critically examined initial reports in the MSM blaming Israel for Misharawi’s death.)

Additionally, the Guardian published an AP report on March 12, ‘UN report suggests Palestinian rocket killed baby in Gaza‘, which went into detail about the new information which contradicted the “widely believed story behind an image that became a symbol of what Palestinians said was Israeli aggression.”

Thus far, the Guardian still hasn’t corrected a Nov. 15 report by Paul Owen and Tom McCarthy, ‘Gaza Twitter war intensifies over pictures of infant casualties‘, which included the heartbreaking photo of Misharawi as well as the following text:

Pictures emerged of BBC cameraman Jihad Misharawi’s 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli attack. Misharawi’s sister-in-law also died in the strike on Gaza City, and his brother was seriously injured.

Though the damage done by the now iconic image of Misharawi ‘clutching his slain child wrapped in a shroud can not be ameliorated by even the clearest retractions, it’s important nonetheless that the media be held accountable to report new information which comes to light contradicting their previous version of events.

Whilst you can of course find out how the BBC covered the news at our sister site, BBC Watch, here’s a quick round-up of how others in the British media performed:

The Telegraph:

On Nov. 15, they published ‘Baby son of BBC worker killed in Gaza strike‘ which included the photo of Misharawi, and this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. Mr Misharawi’s brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

 Additionally, a Nov. 15 Telegraph Live Blog post on the Gaza war included this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. His brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

Corrections:

None.

Daily Mail:

On Nov. 15, they published a sensationalist piece by David Williams titled ‘What did my son do to die like this?’Anguish of BBC journalist as he cradles the body of his baby son who died in Israeli rocket attack on Gaza‘, which included multiple photos of Misharawi with his baby and the following passages:

“Tiny Omar…died after an Israeli airstrike on Hamas militants in Gaza.

Masharawi had arrived at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital after Omar suffered severe burns in an airstrike that sent shrapnel tearing into his home killing a woman and leaving his brother and uncle critically injured.

Corrections:

None.

Spectator:

David Blackburn published a piece titled Israel’s public relations problem‘ which included the image of Misharawi with his baby, as well as the following passage:

The front page of today’s Washington Post shows a picture of the BBC’s Jihad Masharawi holding his dead 11-month-old son, an innocent victim of Israeli action against Hamas’ paramilitary targets following months of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians in southern Israel*

Corrections:

The piece has now been updated, per the asterisk, and includes the following at the bottom:

*Since this article was published, a United Nations investigation has found that the incident described by the Washington Post was caused by the shortfall of a rocket fired by Palestinian militants at targets in Israel.

The Sun

On Nov. 15 The Sun published ‘The Innocents: Beeb journalist’s son dead, another hurt..babies hit as Gaza war looms, by Nick Parker, which included a photo of Misharawi and his baby, and this passage:

Omar was one of at least 15 Palestinians killed in air strikes as Israel retaliated over the Hamas missiles.

Corrections:

None.

The Independent:

On Nov. 15 The Independent published a piece by Amol Rojan titled ’11-month-old son of BBC picture editor is killed in Gaza air strike‘.  The relevant passages in the report are a bit vague, and only suggest causation, but the title alone, informing readers that Omar was killed by an airstrike, clearly implies Israel was to blame.

Corrections:

The Indy has published two corrections: One by Alistair Dawber on March 12 titled ‘UN clears Israel and says errant Hamas rocket probably killed baby in Gaza‘, and a second shorter piece on the same day titled ‘Hamas rocket killed baby in Gaza’.

The Times:

On Nov. 15 The Times published ‘Israelis turn on officials after three die in Hamas strike’, by Sheera Frenkel (behind paywall). Here is the relevant passage:

One of the Palestinian dead was Ahmed Masharawi, the 11-month-old baby son of Jihad Masharawi, a picture editor for the BBC’s Arabic Service. An Israeli missile hit the family’s home in Gaza City, and Ahmed was pronounced dead in Shifa Hospital

On Nov. 16 The Times published ‘Tel Aviv within reach of Hamas rockets’, by Sheera Frenkel, (behind paywall).  Here are the relevant passages.

Meanwhile Israeli tanks, drones, Apache helicopters, warplanes and gunboats were firing into the densely populated Palestinian territory where so far 13 Palestinians, including seven militants and two children, are confirmed to have died and more than 100 to have been injured.

One of the Palestinian dead was Ahmed Masharawi, the 11-month-old baby son of Jihad Masharawi, a picture editor for the BBC’s Arabic Service. An Israeli missile hit the family’s home in Gaza City, and Ahmed was pronounced dead in Shifa Hospital

Corrections:

None.

 

Following CiF Watch post and Tweet, the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade corrects Misharawi story

We recently noted that the Guardian was one the “news sites” which jumped on the media bandwagon and accused Israel of firing a missile on Nov. 14, during the Gaza war, at a house near Gaza City which killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi and his sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

As Hadar Sela of BBC Watch noted recently, the story was first reported by BBC Arabic, and disseminated throughout the media (along with the heart-breaking photo of Jihad Misharawi and his dead child) by the head of the BBC Jerusalem Bureau, Paul Danahar – and by other BCC employees.

Whilst the Guardian’s coverage of the tragic death of Omar Misharawi was relatively restrained – at least in comparison to other news outlets, and relative to their usual rush to judgement involving Israel – the paper’s media blogger Roy Greenslade published the following:

roy

Greenslade, citing the BBC as his source, opened with the following, unequivocally assigning blame to Israel:

The 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed yesterday during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip

However, Elder of Ziyon, BBC Watch, and Harry’s Place were among those who examined the evidence and suggested the possibility that Omar Misharawi was killed by an errant Palestinian rocket – skepticism which was confirmed when the UNHRC issued an advance version of its report on the war which included the following:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” [emphasis added]

A U.N. official confirmed to the Free Beacon that this passage in the report was indeed referring to Misharawi.

This information was first uncovered by Elder of Ziyon and has subsequently been reported by, among others, the New York Times, the Washington PostAPHuffington Post, and even by the BBC’s Jon Donnison.

On March 8, we posted on Greenslade’s error and, further, in an attempt to get his direct attention – and to circumvent the slow response time of Guardian editors who often only begrudgingly make corrections – we Tweeted him the following on March 11:

Today, March 12, Greenslade published the following:

roy 2

Greenslade’s post opens thusly:

In November last year I carried a report that the 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip. Omar Misharawi, son of the BBC Arabic service’s picture editor, Jihad, died from shrapnel wounds.

But, according to an inquiry into the conflict in Gaza by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Israeli defence forces were not responsible for the death.

A detailed report on several fatal incidents, issued on 6 March, states that the death of Omar and his aunt was more likely to have been the result of a rocket attack by Hamas.

Though we’ll never know with 100% certainty if our post and/or Tweet prompted his correction, Greenslade nevertheless deserves credit for revisiting a story he originally got wrong, and setting the record straight.

Update: the Guardian also published an AP report today also noting that the UN blamed the Palestinians for Omar Misharawi’s death.

Update 2: The Guardian Readers’ Editor, Chris Elliott, contacted us to explain that Greenslade did not write his new story about the death of Omar Misharawi because of our post or Tweet.

Guardian & BBC got the death of Omar Misharawi wrong: But, nothing will change.

They all got the story wrong.

The Washington Post, The Daily Mail, The Sun, The TelegraphThe Huffington Post, MSN, YahooCBC News, and, of course, the BBC and the Guardian (among others), all accused Israel of firing a missile, during the November Gaza war, at a house east of Gaza City which killed the 11 month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi and his sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

Here’s the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade on Nov. 15.

roy

Greenslade opens with the following:

The 11-month-old son of a BBC staffer was killed yesterday during an air strike by the Israeli army on the Gaza strip.

Here’s a Nov. 15 Guardian report by Paul Owens and Tom McCarthy:

owens

Note: Guardian caption is incorrect. The infant’s name is Omar. Ahmad is the brother of Jihad Misharawi.

The story began thusly:

A grim new feud opened up on social media on Thursday as pictures were traded of babies who died or were injured during the conflict in Gaza.

Pictures emerged of BBC cameraman Jihad Misharawi’s 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli attack. Misharawi’s sister-in-law also died in the strike on Gaza City, and his brother was seriously injured.

Harriet Sherwood reported the following on Dec. 11, in a follow-up on the aftermath of the war:

harriet

Of course, the death of an infant is always a horrible tragedy and anyone would be moved by images of Jihad Misharawi’s unimaginable grief.

However,  as with any story deemed worthy of attention by professional journalists, facts matter – and, in contrast with the MSM, others in the blogosphere were skeptical about the veracity of the accepted narrative. 

Elder of Ziyon and BBC Watch (and other blogs) were among those who examined the evidence and suggested the possibility that Omar Misharawi was killed by an errant Palestinian rocket.  

Elder noted that “the hole in the ceiling look a lot like what Qassam rocket damage looks like when they hit homes in Israel” and that the photos of the building where the child was killed looked nothing like the damage to Gaza buildings from Israeli airstrikes.

BBC Watch’s Hadar Sela noted, on Nov. 25, that the “BBC has doggedly avoided conducting any sort of investigation whatsoever into the subject of Palestinians killed or injured by at least 152 known shortfalls of rockets fired by [Palestinian] terrorists during [the Gaza war].”

Their skepticism was well-founded.

On March 6th 2013 the UNHRC issued an advance version of its report on the November war and Elder of Ziyon thoroughly read the whole thing. The report states on page 14 that a UN investigation found that:

“On 14 November, a woman, her 11-month-old infant, and an 18-year-old adult in Al-Zaitoun were killed by what appeared to be a Palestinian rocket that fell short of Israel.” [emphasis added]

A Palestinian rocket killed baby Omar, Hiba (the sister-in-law of Jihad) and Ahmed (Jihad’s brother who later succumbed to his wounds).

Whether or not the BBC, Guardian and others will revise their stories to note that Gaza terrorists (and not the IDF) were responsible for the death of Omar, Hiba and Ahmed Misharawi, Sela made the following point:

It is impossible to undo the extensive damage done by the BBC with this story. No apology or correction can now erase it from the internet or from the memories of the countless people who read it or heard it.

Sela, in her Nov. 25 post, argued that, “The tragic story of Omar Misharawi [was] used and abused to advance a very specific narrative of Israel as a killer of children.”

In short, when it comes to the activist media’s mad rush to judgement on every alleged Israeli sin, regardless of whether new facts contradicting the original conclusions are eventually revealed, nothing will be learned.  

Lethal Narratives concerning the Jewish state’s ‘villainy’ will continue unabated.

Nothing will change. 

Does the Guardian’s media blogger follow CiF Watch?

A guest post by AKUS

On December 30th, I noted that the Guardian’s media blogger, Roy Greenslade, was ignoring recently announced Hamas restrictions on journalists – a widely disseminated story which, among others, the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood reported on December 27th, (Hamas bans Palestinian journalists from Israeli media co-operation ).

1

While one can excuse Greenslade for not reading this report in other media, surely he should have noticed Sherwood’s story in the very same paper he writes for, no?

But alert media blogger Greenslade, a fierce defender of freedom of the press, somehow missed this assault on press freedom in Gaza.  

He always seems eager to rewrite reports on real or imagined problems he uncovers dealing with the issue of freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Israel – so why not in Gaza?

For example, his re-write of an article from Ha’aretz on September 4th, 2012:

2

Another example: In July 2011 we had this article from Greenslade, rewriting an article from the NYT, darkly warning of the end of a free speech in Israel (note, by the way, that the Supreme Court just overruled an attempt to ban Arab MK Zoabi who actually participated in treasonous acts against Israel! – try that in the US or UK!):

3

Well, I am pleased to note that Greenslade must “follow” us here at CiF Watch, as he has corrected this oversight.

On January 1, shortly after the CiF Watch article appeared, Greenslade unearthed, according to his footnote, an article by Reporters Without Borders published on December 28th, and also Sherwood’s article.  

So, better late than never.

However, rather than giving credit where credit is due (to us!) he  corrected his oversight by (re) writing a brief article about Hamas’ banning of Palestinian journalists which he footnoted thus: “Sources: The Guardian/RSF“:

4

But in fairness to CiF Watch, given that Greenslade has “outed” the Guardian’s favorite terrorist group thanks to our efforts to prod him along a little, should he not have written:

Sources: The Guardian/RSF/CiF Watch?

Or, would we then have seen him banned by the Guardian, like so many others, and have seen an article by their new media blogger appearing in the Guardian’s media section – like this?

5

Guardian’s media blogger, Roy Greenslade, ignores Hamas restrictions on journalists

A guest post by AKUS

This was the Guardian’s list of top Media stories on December 28th:

pic

Oddly enough, the December 27th story by Harriett Sherwood about Hamas banning Palestinian journalists reporting in Gaza for Israeli media did not make it the Guardian’s list of top media stories. Instead, it was quietly pushed to News/World News/Hamas:

Sherwood

Nor did it come to the attention of Roy Greenslade, who seems to keep an eagle-eyed focus on news relating to the media and press freedom in Israel.

How strange that Greenslade should have overlooked this story while being so on top of other stories about media in the region, especially those which show Israel in a negative light – despite the fact that, by any standard, Israel lays claim to the only truly free press in the region.  

media

Perhaps a Hamas ban on Palestinian journalists who report for the Israeli media is not a significant media issue – unlike, for example, an Israeli reporter leaking security documents, which led to this lengthy re-write, by Greenslade, of an article from Ha’aretz on September 4th, 2012,  Israeli judge to reporter – state security matters more than press freedom:

pic 3

And in July 2011 there was this report by Greenslade, rehashing the NYT, darkly warning of the end of a free speech in Israel– still alive and kicking more than a year later, by the way:

pic 4How very odd to see the difference in emphasis about media restrictions when the antagonists in the tale are Palestinians.

Could it be that Greenslade and the Guardian expect such behavior from Hamas, and therefore don’t consider it newsworthy enough to report it at a blog about the media and press freedom?

Round-up of the Guardian’s Israel coverage – September 2012

It is time for our monthly round-up of the Guardian’s coverage of Israel and, as usual, quite a few of the sixty articles appearing on the Guardian’s ‘World News – Israel‘ page during September have precious little to do with the subject. 

Obituaries for Eva Figes and Said Aburish – neither of them Israelis – somehow found their way there, as did an article on the fighting in Haleb (Aleppo) in Syria, a piece concerning a man who set himself alight in Gaza and another on vintage Arab banknotes. An article relating to Palestinian protests against the PA’s economic policies also appeared on the ‘Israel’ page. 

No fewer than five articles covered the subject of the riots across the Middle East and North Africa supposedly related to the ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video.  A further ten articles were actually about the US presidential race and nine others were connected to some aspect of the Iranian nuclear bid. 

Among the topics of local news covered by the Guardian’s in situ Jerusalem correspondent were the proposed exhumation of Yasser Arafat, Eritrean economic migrants in Sinai, Spiderman’ kippas, and Ariel University. In an article on the bankrupt Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, Sherwood apparently thought it necessary to emphasise the fact that its proposed buyer is a ‘settler’. An article by Roy Greenslade related to the Uri Blau court case. 

Sherwood also wrote about the ‘pillaging’ of Dead Sea resources according to a report by Al Haq and the BDS case was presented in an additional article by Ben White, replying to a piece of the opposite sentiment. 

Articles by Ghada Karmi and Antony Loewenstein promoted the ‘one-state solution’, whilst another related to “fading prospects” for the two state solution according to David Miliband. 

The Guardian’s coverage of the UN opening, as featured upon the Israel page, ran to twelve articles – six of those concerning PM Netanyahu’s speech and the others relating to the speeches by Obama, Morsi, Abbas and Ahmadinejad. 

On the security front, the Guardian published a video of an “Israeli air strike on Gaza” and an article about a “border skirmish” in which three Egyptian ‘militants’ (in quotation marks) were killed. No mention was made in that article of the fact that an Israeli soldier was killed by the terrorists and no follow-up article including that information was published. 

At the ‘Israel’ page of Comment is Free, where the July 2011 Sam Bahour article still holds pride of place, a total of five articles were published in September, including the above mentioned Karmi and Loewenstein ‘one state’ articles and two by Chris McGreal. Refreshingly, an article by Jackie Kemp also appeared, describing the abysmal behaviour of anti-Israel protesters at the Batsheva performances in Scotland. 

Among the news from Israel which the Guardian failed to report at all during September was:

A Grad rocket which fell near Netivot on September 2nd.

The arrest of a Palestinian from Beit Furik and two others for the poisoning of a family in Ra’anana.

The Hamas reshuffle and Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad participation in the Conference of Islamic Resistance held in Iran. 

The firing of two rockets at Netivot on September 7th.

The firing of Grad rockets at Netivot and Be’er Sheva on September 9th

The killing of security officer Lior Farhi by the driver of a car transporting illegal Palestinian workers into Israel.

The firing of three rockets from Gaza at southern Israeli communities during the week September 12th to 19th.

The seizure of a large stockpile of weapons belonging to a terrorist squad near Mount Hebron. 

The killing of Corporal Netanel Yahalomi and the injury of another soldier during the terrorist attack on the Egyptian border on September 21st

Dozens of attacks with rocks and Molotov cocktails on Israeli vehicles. 

Yes – that is the strange world of the Guardian, in which a Spiderman kippa row deserves column space, but the destruction of a house in a Grad missile attack or the killing of an Israeli soldier by terrorists does not. 

Guardian’s Roy Greenslade invents a ‘freedom of the press’ bogeyman

Also appearing on the ‘Israel’ page of the Guardian’s ‘World News’ section, a September 4th post on Roy Greenslade’s media blog, headlined ” Israeli judge to reporter – state security matters more than press freedom” goes on to declare that:

“An Israeli court has ruled that state security is more important than freedom of the press and the public’s right to know”.

Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Most readers would immediately conjure up images of far-away dark regimes in which valiant journalists selflessly battle overpowering government repression in order to bring the truth to light for the sake of an uninformed and oppressed public. 

That may be what Roy Greenslade believes, and it certainly would not be the first time he has gone down similar routes. It may even be what he would like his readers to believe – which could explain his somewhat selective (to say the least) reporting of the Uri Blau case in general and his sentencing in particular. 

So let’s take a look at what the judge really said, according to sources in the language in which he actually said it. 

The Israeli website Walla! reports as follows: (emphasis added)

“The Magistrates Court in Tel Aviv today (Monday) gave a sentence of four months of community service to “Ha’aretz” journalist Uri Blau, who pleaded guilty and was convicted in July within the framework of a plea bargain of holding classified information, after he received around 1,800 classified documents, which were copied by Anat Kam, whilst she was a soldier in the office of the Major General of Central Command.”(…..)

” “The security of a country [depends upon] its ability to protect its military secrets” wrote the Judge Ido Druiyan in the verdict. “The exposure of such secrets exposes the country to the schemes of its enemies, on the way revealing strong and weak points, military and other plans, and negates the potential of surprise in the case of a pre-planned attack where that is necessary”. The judge agreed with the definition of the prosecution that the documents which Blau circulated were a ticking bomb, even if they were not held with the intention of harming state security: “How easy it is to hack into a computer, steal and make copies of such material”. “

“In the verdict the Judge also addressed [the subject of] the importance of investigative journalism and wrote: “If we compare state security with the freedom of the press and the right of the public to know as absolute values, the value of state security will be greater if only for the simple reason that without the safe existence of the state and its citizens, the press and the public will also not exist”. Together with that, he explained that the court balances between the values and stressed that the material with which Blau dealt is of the highest public importance. “The enormous importance of the security systems and the character of their activity affords in Israel a special urgency and importance to their being the active subject of lively public and political debate”. He also wrote that “The free activity of investigative journalism is among the bases of democracy because without real information the public is exposed to the destructive harm of wild demagoguery, malicious lies and deliberate concealment“. “

“Judge Druiyan added that “The state recognizes the special standing of the journalist and is prepared to tolerate the gap between precise enforcement of the law and between the restraint dictated by the recognition in this country of investigative journalism. That gap is the breathing space of the democracy“. ” (….)

The Walla! article further reminds us that: 

“Blau published at the time articles on targeted assassinations which were carried out in the territories, and were based on the documents he received from Kam. After the publication of the articles, he signed an agreement with the General Security services, within the framework of which he passed over to the security services 50 documents, and his computer was destroyed. After the arrest of Kam, it became clear that he held hundreds of additional documents, some classified as secret and top-secret. With the breaking of the Kam affair, he left the country for a number of months and upon his return was questioned. “

“The prosecutor in the trial, Lawyer Dassi Forer of the Tel Aviv District Advocacy, said at the stage of arguments for sentencing that her decision to present an indictment came about after much deliberation, because of the importance of free media.”

So, as we see yet again (if we are feeling charitable), a Guardian writer’s prejudices and pre-conceived opinions regarding Israel in general and its judicial system in particular – coupled with a lack of serious research – prevent that newspaper from presenting to its readers a fair and balanced account of events. 

Were one in a less generous mood, one might alternatively raise questions regarding the professor of journalism Roy Greenslade’s own commitment  to the public’s “right to know” the whole story, rather than just cherry-picked items selected to advance an agenda. 

Greenslade’s ‘copy and paste’ media blog

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade had a breaking story from Israel yesterday:

Eager readers who wanted to know more were interested to know where he found this information – does Greenslade have a source inside the Mossad, perhaps?

Well, no. Not exactly.

Of course, a journalist should never reveal his sources.

The following appeared below the report:

Oops.

Unfortunately, Greenslade has never learned that when you are in a hole, you should stop digging. Commenter SheketvShalva queried him about his article – and he revealed yet another secret source – Ha’aretz!

“Faux-naivete” is practiced by some and, perhaps, ‘faux-journalism’ by others.

The unofficial alliance of the BBC and Guardian

Cross posted by Raheem Kassam, Executive Editor of The Commentator 

Spirit. I’ll tell ye. ‘Tis not vain or fabulous

(Though so esteemed by shallow ignorance)

What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse,

Storied of old in high immortal verse

Of dire Chimeras and enchanted isles,

And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell

 John Milton, Comus (1634)

In his masque in honor of chastity and free thinking, John Milton introduces to his audience the virtues of recta ratio, the ability to exercise reason and restraint in the face of temptation and libidinal desire.

Of course, Britain’s media “behemoths” representing the Islington-dwelling liberal intelligentsia are already beyond reproach, having fallen between the rifted rocks of Hell long ago.

Thus Comus was created and thrives in the form of The Guardian and the BBC’s somewhat overt friendship. It appears in our media as the three-headed chimera, with the lion head of The Guardian, the bleating mouth of the BBC goat and the small yet venomous serpent tail of The Independent. Comus continues to lure anyone who will entertain him into his lair of necromancy.

Earlier this week, The Commentator broke the story that the BBC, between April 2010 and February 2011, procured nearly 60,000 copies of The Guardian and over 10,000 less of the nearest right-leaning paper, The Daily Telegraph. Also, the BBC curiously procured inordinate numbers of The Independent (43,709).

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade argues a “so what?” case, making the point that The Guardian and the BBC effectively stand for the same thing. This is the very problem.

The Guardian has a circulation of about one-third of its right-wing competitor, The Telegraph, and yet it enjoys a significantly larger presence within the confines of Broadcasting House and the BBC beyond. The Independent, with a daily circulation of only around 90,000, was bought in almost the same quantities as The Telegraph, a paper that enjoys some six times the daily public consumption.

What this tells us of this unofficial alliance, or Comus as we have come to know it, is that there is little wonder why on key issues, the BBC and The Guardian differ very little.

Distinguishing between their lines on the National Health Service, on European integration, on climate change, Israel and the Middle East, and economics is becoming more and more difficult.

Many of their staff is indeed interchangeable, with former Guardian editor Allegra Stratton now perched at the Beeb as political editor. The Guardian’s trans-Atlantic buddy, The New York Times, today procured Mark Thompson, of BBC fame, as its new president.

The Beeb’s own Andrew Marr has noted:

“The BBC is not impartial or neutral. It’s a publicly funded, urban organization with an abnormally large number of young people, ethnic minorities, and gay people. It has a liberal bias, not so much a party-political bias. It is better expressed as a cultural liberal bias.”

Swallow that alongside the stark admission from Roy Greenslade in The Guardian Tuesday, responding to The Commentator’s exclusive

“There are so many similarities between the BBC and the Guardian… Both are imbued with a public interest ethos… It is therefore fair to say that the corporation and the paper have deeply ingrained shared values.” 

But much like Comus, these two organizations, alongside The Independent, appear to lure in the public with its promises of guilt alleviation and the scapegoating of certain nations or ideologies. This basic level of seduction, in appealing to a falsified notion of conscience, asks that the reader abandon rationality and indulge in often morally depraved or unscientific reporting.

We’ve seen this over time. With The Guardian’s obsession with “the Jewish lobby,” their intractability over climate science – despite being disproved time and again — and recently with our scoop on the BBC and its implacable hostility to the State of Israel (refusing to even acknowledge that it has a capital city, no less.)

And so it is up to us to act as the Attendant Spirit of this saga, who instructs on how Comus’s captive can be freed. Sabrina, the water nymph who ends up finally liberating the captive lady, can only do so due to her steadfast virtue and rejection of Comus’s necromancy. We must urge the public to exercise such chastity.

Over time, the liberal-left media will be shown to be the aggressor with the public conscience as its captor. Those who work relentlessly against the media bias are the Spirit and Sabrina, and inevitably, will triumph.

Guardian’s Roy Greenslade, and his recently revealed links to political wing of the IRA

H/T Chas

Sinn Fein was established as the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the UK and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms. Their origins date back to 1918, but they later split into factions and the modern IRA became known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, active from 1969 till 1997 (the year they signed the Belfast Agreement). 

The IRA formally announced an end to its armed campaign in 2005, though the group is still considered a terrorist movement by the UK.

The IRA orchestrated numerous terrorist attacks, killing their adversaries, government officials, police officers, soldiers, and some Catholics who worked for compromise.  Their main tactic was murder by the use of explosives, but they also engaged in kidnapping – and were heavily involved with organized crime and counterfeiting.

The IRA conducted an armed campaign, primarily in Northern Ireland but also in England and European cities, over the course of which it was responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,800 people. The dead included about 630 civilians.

Per a recent report in The Independent:

An extraordinary item appeared last Tuesday on Professor Roy Greenslade’s MediaGuardian blog. It was a harsh attack on his colleague Henry McDonald, the long-serving Ireland correspondent of The Observer and The Guardian. The Prof noted that the previous Friday a story by Mr McDonald had appeared in The Guardian wrongly attributing a Belfast murder the night before to “Republican paramilitaries”.

Mr Greenslade was right that in the heat of the moment Mr McDonald had got his facts wrong, apparently relying on incorrect information from Republican dissidents. A man and a woman with no paramilitary connections were later charged. Yet it seemed odd that the Prof should have launched a public attack on a colleague for a pardonable mistake. Mr Greenslade, who has long-standing links with Sinn Fein, evidently resented the imputation of Republican involvement.

Before writing his piece he did not contact his colleague. Nor did he do so last August when he wrote a blog criticising British newspapers, including Mr McDonald’s, for not covering the annual Sinn Fein conference…

….

Few people are aware that The Guardian’s media sage has affiliations with Sinn Fein. During the late 1980s, when he was managing news editor of The Sunday Times, he secretly wrote for An Phoblacht, the Sinn Fein newspaper, which then served as a propaganda sheet for the Provisional IRA. His pseudonym was George King. 

The connections endure. Last June, Mr Greenslade spoke at a Sinn Fein conference in London on the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes.

Given his sympathies, it is fair to surmise that Mr Greenslade dislikes Mr McDonald’s articles about Sinn Fein’s links to organised crime, and saw his recent piece as an attempt to blacken the organisation.

May I suggest that when he next writes about Northern Ireland Mr Greenslade should be open about his allegiances? And also that he should talk to colleagues before attacking them? Both are considered good journalistic practice, and he is, after all, Professor of Journalism at City University, where there must be impressionable students who look up to him. Roy Greenslade would do well to ponder on what, one way and another, is a bit of an ethical tangle.

Interestingly, last November Greenslade characterized efforts by anti-Zionist activists intent on violating the legal blockade of a sovereign country established to prevent the flow of weapons to Hamas, comically, as a “peace flotilla“. 

In light of revelations about his Sinn Fein/IRA affiliations, such euphemisms, used by Greenslade to characterize “activists” who lend their services in support of terrorist movements, are much easier to understand.  

A small victory against Palestinians’ continuing “mission” to wipe Israel off the map

The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade reported today on a UK Advertising Standards Authority ruling against the website of the Palestinian Diplomatic Mission to the UK which featured an interactive map under the heading “Discover Palestine”.

Per the ASA:

Complainants objected that the map misleadingly implied that the entire area represented by the map was Palestine and that the state of Israel did not exist.

The ASA upheld the complaint, ruling as follows:

The ASA noted that the website featured a map that included all of Israel, in addition to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We noted that the map was coloured red, green and black, the colours of the Palestinian flag. We noted that clicking on particular areas of the map linked to tourist information…We also noted that neither the information provided via these links nor the information surrounding the map itself referred to the State of Israel. We considered that the average consumer would infer from the map and the linked information that the total area represented by the map was the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Because this was not the case we concluded that the website was misleading.

ASA ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.

However, such a Pyrrhic victory over those who don’t seek a return to pre-’67 borders but, rather, to undue 1948, continues unabated.

Per Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), a PA Ambassador recently made clear that the PA and Fatah utterly reject that Israel has any right to exist within any borders.

The PA’s Ambassador to India, Adli Sadeqwrote the following in an article for the official PA daily:

“[Israelis] have a common…misconception by which they fool themselves, assuming that Fatah accepts them and recognizes the right of their state to exist, and that it is Hamas alone that loathes them and does not recognize the right of this state to exist. They ignore the fact that this state, based on a fabricated [Zionist] enterprise, never had any shred of a right to exist…”

And, this is no anomaly. PMW has repeatedly reported on the PA’s continuing efforts to deny Israel’s right to exist.

While the Guardian’s assault on Israel’s legitimacy is not typically quite as overt – typically consisting of merely demonizing the Jewish state and publishing commentators who call for a one-state solution – there was at least one exception to their typically euphemistic suggestions that Israel may have no right to live, in the pre CiF Watch days.

In his CiF essay, Bodi opined:

Israel has no right to exist. I know it’s a hugely unfashionable thing to say and one which, given the current parlous state of the peace process, some will also find irresponsible. But it’s a fact that I have always considered central to any genuine peace formula.

Though Bodi hasn’t written for CiF since 2003, perhaps he was on to something.

Maybe Israel’s disappearance from the map is indeed the missing ingredient which has eluded negotiators trying strenuously to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, a solution which has been right in front of our eyes all along.

If only those stubborn Jews clinging to their religion of existence would get with the program, there truly could be peace in our time.

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#PropagandaWaves: The Guardian’s Roy Greenslade or the ‘Free Gaza’ Movement?

Here’s a headline, from Roy Greenslade blog in the Guardian, Nov. 5, about the latest flotilla propaganda stunt which could have been written by spokesmen for the Free Gaza Movement:    

A “peace flotilla”.

I guess that’s the term for anti-Zionist activists intent on violating the legal blockade of a sovereign country established to prevent the flow of weapons into a terrorist controlled territory. 

A few highlights from Greenslade’s propaganda communique.

A Scottish TV reporter was among a group of journalists arrested earlier today when Israeli soldiers boarded two ships sailing toward Gaza.  Hassan Ghani who works for Iran’s Press TV, was detained

Sure, Ghani may be an apparatchik for the state controlled propaganda tool of the Islamic Republic of Iran, but who is Greenslade to judge?  

Then this:

The ships were forced to sail into the Israeli port of Ashdod, where all 27 passengers were handed over to the authorities.

They were aboard the Canadian vessel Tahrir (Arabic for liberation) and the Irish boat Saoirse (Irish for freedom), which were reputedly carrying medical equipment from Turkey to Gaza.

I don’t know how you say Guardian Left Dupe in Arabic or Irish, but, as we posted on Friday shortly after the flotilla was intercepted, and as the media has subsequently reported, the vessels were not carrying medical supplies or cargo of any sort. 

Finally, this:

“The flotilla, meant to be a symbolic and non-violent peace gesture,

Truly remarkable. Thousands of tons of supplies flow freely into Gaza daily by land – the IDF even has a page on its website with instructions on how people can donate additional goods to the Hamas controlled territory – and a ship carrying absolutely no cargo is a “peace gesture”. 

On a daily basis, Israel transfers approx. 6,000 tons of goods and materials into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom Crossing

Moreover, in 2009 alone more than 10,000 patients and their companions left Gaza for medical treatment in Israeli hospitals.  

That is, Israel treats thousands of Palestinians – citizens of a country with whom they are at war – free of charge each year.

But, who can be concerned with such quotidian concerns as food, medicine, and humanitarian aid when you can manufacture a publicity stunt and be assured of favorable coverage by the world’s leading liberal voice?

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Guardian moderators inexplicably delete comment beneath post by Roy Greenslade

Roy Greenslade’s post, Al-Jazeera bureau chief arrested in Israel, Guardian, Aug. 16, produced a paltry number of comments, but it did elicit this by “Sorcey“.

In response to Sorcey there was this by HushedSilence:

HushedSilence16 August 2011 11:28AM

Re: “The only things that have occurred recently is more building by Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem”

Jews building houses in an area where Jews already live, is a matter for international concern.

Re: “IDF strikes on Gaza.”

Though of course you wouldn’t be aware that this is in retaliation for the rockets and mortar strikes on civilian areas in Israel and the damage and injuries done because that’s so unimportant that the Guardian doesn’t report them.

And, then.

So, apparently, glib accusations of Israeli racism and brutality – in response to a story where few details are available – are perfectly acceptable, but a rebuttal to the defamation, which also dares to criticize the Guardian, runs afoul of their “community standards.”

Great comment by Guardian reader in reply to Greenslade blog post about limits on journalists covering flotilla

While the story is still developing, and the Prime Minister’s office seems to be backtracking from previous statements by the FPO about possible restrictions placed on journalists who participate in the illegal attempts by Hamas affiliated flotillas to break Israel’s blockade, one commenter, who goes by the moniker of TheVoiceOfIsrael, expressed, with admirable lucidity, Israel’s concerns about such activist journalists beneath Roy Greenslade’s blog, Israel warns journalists – do not sail with Gaza flotilla”, June 27th.

This has nothing to do with freedom of the press. The number of foreign journalists in Israel is relatively the highest in the world. This even includes Al Jazeera and other Arab media journalists from countries that do not even have diplomatic relations with Israel, and even from some countries that are hostile to the Jewish state.

According to independent NGOs, the level of freedom of the press in Israel is among the highest in the world, and certainly higher than any other country in the Middle East (and that includes Turkey). Israel’s freedom of the press is even greater that in Italy and other western European countries. (See Freedom House/Freedom of the Press).

That does not mean that journalists in Israel are not bound by the law, as are all people in Israel. If a foreign visitor or resident breaks the law in the United States they are liable to be restricted from entering the US for 10 years. It is a reasonable rule, and is similar to rules in Europe and other parts of the free world. Journalists do not get any special treatment in that respect either in Israel, the United States, or elsewhere.

It is against Israel law to participate in an attempt to breach a legal arms blockade against the Hamas terrorist regime (as defined by the European Union, the US, Israel, Australia, Canada, and other countries). Any foreign national is therefore liable to be restricted from entering Israel if they do so, and any Israeli national is subject to prosecution.

Some readers may not like this situation but it is perfectly legal and it is perfectly reasonable, and has absolutely nothing to do with freedom of the press.

And beyond all that, it should be obvious to anyone that without the international media, the pro-Hamas flotilla would not try to breach the arms blockade. This flotilla is looking for a confrontation with Israel and all its members are really interested in is provocation. There is no value to any of their actions if there is no news media available to help them play to their international audience. In that respect, any participating members of the news media are not only breaking the law, they are also giving support and comfort to the Hamas terror organization.

Now, if you happen to support the pro-Hamas flotilla (be it because you are naive, misinformed, or you just plain hate Israel), then of course you will see things very differently. But we, here in Israel don’t. The pro-Hamas flotilla will not be permitted to reach Gaza, and hopefully this time when confronted by the Israel navy, the participants will not resort to violence, so that bloodshed can be avoided.

Whatever Israeli policy regarding such journalists participating in this political  publicity stunt, the inclusion of anti-Israel propagandists like Mya Guarnieri and Joseph Dana on the flotillas assure that, no matter how adeptly the highly trained and disciplined Israeli Navy personnel handle the situation, Israel will be demonized.  Anyone expecting anything resembling objectivity from such ideologically driven activists are beyond naive.