Based on research collected while posing as a German investigative reporter during a tour through Palestinian areas, Israeli born playwright and writer Tuvia Tenenbom spent time with pro-Palestinian “activists” and NGO researchers in the West Bank and asked about the plight of the Palestinians. He turned the results into a book cheekily titled, ‘Catch the Jew‘, words meant to capture the surreal anti-Israel and antisemitic propaganda continually fed by such activists to a compliant media.
Tel Aviv is not Israel’s capital. That distinction of course belongs to Jerusalem.
One of the most well-reported instances of a media group being forced to apologize after making such an egregious error occurred on August 7, 2012, when the Guardian finally accepted that they were ‘wrong to state that Tel Aviv…is the capital’ of Israel.
A more recent case involves the Times of London, in a blurb in their print edition on June 28th (about the 2003 terror attack at Mike’s Place in Tel Aviv) that we were going to post about at the time – before the Gaza war broke out and our blog’s coverage naturally shifted focus.
The Times later corrected the false claim:
Finally, we’ll leave you with this short video of Tel Aviv’s mayor patiently explaining that his city is NOT Israel’s capital.
“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper, but in Spain, for the first time, I saw newspaper reports which do not bear any relation to the facts, not even the relationship which is implied in an ordinary lie”
This is a quote by George Orwell about news reports during the Spanish Civil War, but, as former AP correspondent Matt Friedman explained in his masterful Tablet essay (An Insider’s Guide to the Most Important Story on Earth), Orwell’s words are just as apt in characterizing the media’s egregiously misleading coverage of Israel and the war in Gaza.
The Orwell quote (cited by Friedman in his article) came to mind when we read the following passages in a report in the London-based Financial Times by John Reed titled ‘War in Gaza: Winners and Losers‘, which happened to overlap with Hamas’s own surreal assessment of the war.
Here’s the relevant passage in Reed’s report:
Let’s take it apart:
Before Protective Edge, Gaza’s ruling Islamist movement was in a corner. It was politically isolated, bankrupt, unable to pay its civil servants and forced by circumstances to reconcile with arch-rival Fatah.
And, after the war, Hamas is politically isolated, bankrupt, and still unable to pay its civil servants. Further, the current ceasefire deal which Hamas agreed to is almost exactly like the one Egypt proposed (which Israel accepted) but Hamas rejected on July 15, one week into the conflict, before the IDF destroyed their terror tunnels, and killed some of their top leaders.
Hamas’s decision to reject the July 15th proposal represented a colossal miscalculation, and resulted in more Hamas fighters killed, a much greater depletion of their rocket capacity, and no perceivable military, strategic or political benefit.
Other Hamas ‘demands’ which haven’t been agreed to by Israel in the current ceasefire include opening a sea port and an airport in Gaza, and releasing additional Palestinian prisoners.
In this context, the war was a welcome development. Hamas, for the third time in five years, confronted one of the world’s best armies and managed to hold on to power, calculating correctly that Israel would never embark on a longer and bloodier ground war in order to topple it.
How low can you set the bar? The mere fact that they ‘held on to power’ is a victory? Again, he doesn’t explain what concrete achievements they can reasonably boast. Also, it’s interesting that Reed fails to explain how the war was a “welcome development” for Palestinian civilians.
Hamas rockets, built painstakingly over years by blockade-busting tactics, sent people across Israel running into shelters, killing six civilians and bringing most flights at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport to a halt for two days in July.
It’s almost as if Reed admires Hamas’s ‘grit’ in diverting humanitarian aid (which could have helped Gaza’s economy) for terror purposes. Plus, it’s interesting how such Jerusalem based correspondents covering the war, such as Reed, who almost universally downplayed the threat posed to Israeli civilians by the thousands of Hamas rockets, can now suggest that these same rockets ‘successfully’ terrorized Israel by killing six civilians, and sending them fleeing for bomb shelters.
Although much of Hamas’s arsenal is now depleted and many of its tunnels destroyed, fighting Israel to another ceasefire plays as a victory for many of its supporters.
Talk about burying the lead! So, despite the fact that “Hamas’s [rocket] arsenal is now depleted and many [sic] of its tunnels destroyed”, Reed still maintains that a victory was achieved.
As after Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012, Hamas can begin firing again if it chooses. Granted, when the dust settles from this conflict and its spoils and destruction become clearer to Gazans, they could potentially turn on Hamas. There is no sign of this happening yet, however.
Of course, one of the biggest obstacles preventing Gazans from “turning on Hamas” is not any objective assessment of the war’s “achievements’ per se, but, rather, scenes such as these:
Finally, here are some facts ignored by Reed in his assessment:
- IDF attacked 5,263 targets across Gaza during the war, hitting rocket launching sites, arms and munitions factories and warehouses, as well as the offices of Hamas commanders. Several top Hamas commanders and hundreds of Hamas fighters were killed. Over 34 known tunnels were destroyed.
- Out of the 4,564 rockets and mortars fired at Israel from Gaza, over 475 landed in Gaza, killing an unknown number of Palestinians. 3,641 exploded in Israeli territory, but only 224 actually hit residential areas, while the remaining rockets fell in open areas; The Iron Dome intercepted at least 735. Six Israeli civilians were killed.
To simply state that Reeds’s assessment of Hamas’s achievements ‘does not bear any relation to the facts’ is an understatement of enormous proportions.
As we noted about 30 minutes ago, the Guardian’s Live Blog pronounced that the ceasefire (which went into effect at 9:00 this morning) was ‘holding’ despite the dozens of rockets fired by Hamas since the morning, and the fact that world leaders, including US Secretary of State John Kerry, had forcefully condemned Hamas for violating the terms of the agreement.
However, roughly 20 minutes ago it was reported that the IDF had resumed military operations (after having ceased all attacks since 9AM in accordance with the agreement) in response to Hamas rocket fire, which prompted the following Guardian update:
Here’s how the update is framed on their Israel page:
It’s also the featured story on the blog itself, per the recently updated headline:
This is simply surreal.
Dozens of Hamas rocket attacks evidently don’t count as a ceasefire violation according to the Guardian’s blog editor Matthew Weaver, but Israeli retaliation – six hours into the Hamas assault – constitutes an official end to the agreement.
This isn’t just an obfuscation, but a complete and total fabrication.
The Rolling Stones, arguably the best rock ‘n roll band in history, performed in Tel Aviv last night in front of a raucous crowd of over 50,000, serving as yet another example of the decade-plus-long record of failure by the campaign - supported recently by Guardian’s former Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood – to boycott millions of Jews.
Here are a few clips from last night’s performance:
Ian Black, the Guardian’s Middle East editor, wrote the following in a May 2nd article titled “Remembering the Nakba: Israeli group puts 1948 Palestine back on the map‘:
In a run-down office in the busy centre of Tel Aviv, a group of Israelis are finalising preparations for this year’s independence day holiday. But their conversation – switching between Arabic and Hebrew – centres not on celebrating the historic realisation of the Zionist dream in May 1948, but on the other side of the coin: the flight, expulsion and dispossession that Palestinians call their catastrophe – the Nakba.
Maps, leaflets and posters explain the work of Zochrot – Hebrew for “Remembering”. The organisation’s mission is to educate Israeli Jews about a history that has been obscured by enmity, propaganda and denial for much of the last 66 years.
Next week, Zochrot, whose activists include Jews and Palestinians, will connect the bitterly contested past with the hi-tech present. Its i-Nakba phone app will allow users to locate any Arab village that was abandoned during the 1948 war on an interactive map, learn about its history (including, in many cases, the Jewish presence that replaced it), and add photos, comments and data.
It is all part of a highly political and inevitably controversial effort to undo the decades-long erasure of landscape and memory – and, so the hope goes, to build a better future for the two peoples who share a divided land.
Further in the article, Black alludes to the fact that Zochrot’s plans to “build a better future” in the region include an unlimited Palestinian ‘right of return':
Zochrot’s focus on the hyper-sensitive question of the 750,000 Palestinians who became refugees has earned it the hostility of the vast majority of Israeli Jews who flatly reject any Palestinian right of return. Allowing these refugees – now, with their descendants, numbering seven million people – to return to Jaffa, Haifa or Acre, the argument goes, would destroy the Jewish majority, the raison d’être of the Zionist project.
Black’s use of the term “Zionist project” is of course quite telling.
As David Hirsh noted in an essay at Fathom, though in the decades prior to 1948 opposing the ‘Zionist project’ (anti-Zionism) was debatable even among fierce opponents of antisemitism, after ’48 such a position became a “programme for the destruction of an actually existing nation-state”.
Indeed, Zochrot (an NGO heavily funded by several European governments) quite openly seeks a one-state solution through the ‘right of return” for millions of Palestinians who claim to be descended from refugees from ’48. Even more disturbingly, the group’s founder has written the following about his vision of the future:
When the refugees return, Jews will become a minority in the country. Israel as a Jewish state will change radically, and it will no longer be defined as such. Jews will no longer be able to determine their future…by themselves…. There may be Jews, most of them of European origin, who won’t be able to adjust to a non-Zionist reality, and prefer to use their other passport to move elsewhere…”
One of the more troubling elements of the Guardian’s coverage of the region is their propensity to legitimize one-state advocates – editors, reporters and commentators who’ve learned nothing from the dark history of antisemitism in the 20th century and somehow reconcile their putatively ‘liberal’ politics with plans to render 40 percent of the world’s Jews powerless, and dependent upon the whims and wishes of a hostile Arab majority.
Or – the argument goes – they can ‘move elsewhere’.
Though the Guardian may not typically trade in crude Judeophobic tropes, they can’t cry foul when accused of at least abetting antisemitism for continually endorsing reactionary political actors who seek to annul the fundamental Jewish right to self-determination and thus jeopardizing millions of Jewish lives.
A few hours before the Israeli government was set to approve a new deal with the Palestinians to extend peace talks till 2015 – which involved the release of the final batch of pre-Oslo prisoners, hundreds of additional prisoners and a partial curb in construction beyond the green line – the Palestinians signed letters seeking acceptance to 15 UN treaties and conventions, reneging on their agreement of July 2013 to refrain from making unilateral moves.
The last-minute breakdown throws the possibility that talks will proceed past the April 29 deadline into serious doubt, and was followed by additional Palestinian demands. These include Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital, the release of 1,200 more prisoners (including Marwan Barghouti), a complete cessation of settlement construction, the imposition of PA sovereignty over Area C, a halt to Israeli anti-terror operations in PA-controlled territories, and a lifting the arms blockade on Gaza.
Anyone who’s been closely following negotiations would understand that Palestinians were counting down the days until the April 29 deadline when they would be free to execute what Jerusalem Post correspondent Herb Kenion refers to as their Plan B – waging diplomatic warfare against Israel to isolate it, delegitimize it, and eventually force it through international pressure to give in to their maximalist demands.
Such a plan of political warfare is largely inspired by what’s known as the Durban Strategy, a declaration adopted in the 2001 NGO Forum of the UN’s Durban conference. The Durban campaign – itself the political successor to the Arab boycott launched in 1945, three years before Israeli statehood – featured numerous expressions of antisemitism, focused on labeling Israel an ‘apartheid state’ guilty of ‘ethnic cleansing’, ‘genocide’, and ‘war crimes’”, and adopted a resolution calling for the “complete and total isolation of Israel…the imposition of mandatory and comprehensive sanctions and embargoes, [and] the full cessation of all links between all states and Israel.”
What’s known today as the modern BDS movement – which singles out the Jewish state, alone among the family of nations, for a coordinated campaign of boycotts, sanctions, divestment and social exclusion – was essentially born on that day.
Though the Guardian’s coverage of the region has consistently legitimized, amplified and provided succor the BDS movement, an op-ed published at ‘Comment is Fee’ (A boycott can jolt Israelis from their somnolence on Palestine, April 4) explicitly endorsing BDS was noteworthy in that it wasn’t written by an anti-Zionist activist, but rather by one of their ‘serious journalists’ – their outgoing Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood.
To those of us familiar with Sherwood’s brand of activist journalism, it is not at all surprising that she has expressed her support for BDS, nor that – despite glaring evidence attesting to Palestinian refusal to budge on vital topics such as the long-term final agreement issues of refugees, mutual recognition, or even the demand that a final peace agreement include an end to all Palestinian claims against Israel – would be ignored.
What largely stands out in her polemical attack is the contempt she seems to possess for average Israelis. While she has eloquently expressed her affection for Palestinians, Israeli Jews – even after all this time in the country – clearly seem to stand beyond the limits of her imaginative sympathy.
The op-ed – illustrated with photo of privileged Israelis “soaking up the sun on a Tel Aviv beach”, oblivious to “the daily grind experienced by more than 4 million Palestinians” – begins by citing a few recent BDS victories before contending that BDS, in protest of its “47-year occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza”, is gathering steam. Sherwood repeats a quote by Israel’s prime minister which attacked Europe and its “dark history” and demanded that “the boycotters must be exposed for what they are… classical antisemites in modern garb”, to which the Guardian journalist responds:
“This is a serious charge, and one that causes deep discomfort to many who want to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli government over its policies towards the Palestinians, but who also vigorously oppose antisemitism in any form. Opposing the occupation does not equate to antisemitism or a rejection of Jews’ right to, and need for, a homeland. The repeated accusation of antisemitism does not make it true, however frequently it is leveled by those who defend Israel unconditionally.”
Of course, Sherwood – who has never, in nearly four years of covering the region, addressed the issue of the extreme (and quite real) expressions of Judeophobia within Palestinian society – fails to explain why precisely the “accusations of antisemitism” against boycott advocates who often defend Palestinians unconditionally, are unfair. And, though she draws a distinction between BDS advocates who merely support boycotting ‘settlement’ goods and those who call for a complete boycott of the state, she doesn’t acknowledge that those who support the latter approach largely reject the right of the state to exist within any borders.
Finally, Sherwood writes about the increasing frustration felt “by Israel’s intransigence…and the failure of the international community to back up critical words with meaningful actions”, before concluding that “only when Israeli citizens and institutions feel the consequences of their government’s policies will they force change from within”. She argues that Israelis are “shielded from the [daily grind] of occupation”, before reaching the conclusion that “economic pain, isolation and global opprobrium” will surely force Israelis “to take notice”.
First, like so many journalists covering the conflict, Sherwood seems to take as a given the benign nature of Palestinian intentions despite so much evidence to the contrary, and doesn’t acknowledge that Israelis overwhelmingly support two-states for two peoples while refusing to ignore the failure of previous ‘land for peace’ guarantees and, therefore, remaining skeptical that the creation of a Palestinian state will actually bring peace.
More pertinent to the theme in Sherwood’s op-ed, Israelis – and most Jews around the world – indeed view current calls to exclude Israeli Jews from the international community in the context of the dark history of such measures. Such Jews naturally question the motivation of sophisticated (putatively progressive) Europeans who see the unimaginable violence and brutality meted out to Arabs by other Arabs in the Middle East – which includes the systemic violation of the rights of women, gays and political dissidents, and (in some cases) industrial-scale killing and torture – and yet believe that the only country whose citizens deserve to be boycotted just so happens to be the only one with a Jewish majority.
The duplicity of pro-Palestinian activists is represented not merely by the manner in which they gain support from the liberal-left despite the decidedly illiberal nature of the Palestinian national movement, nor the way they promote an understanding of the dispute which conflates cause (the more than 70 year Arab war against the Jewish state) with effect (the territorial dispute which only came about as the result of that war). No; their supreme deceit relates to how they manage to convince so many within the opinion elite that – unlike every other time in history – this time those campaigning for the exclusion of Jewish professionals, academics and artists are morally justified; that this time a small community of Jews can truly represent an organic obstacle to peace and progress; that this time it truly is malevolent Jewish behavior that brings about measures singling out Jews for opprobrium and sanction.
However, though many Zionists are secular, most thankfully are imbued with a rich and edifying tradition which explains that ‘What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; and there is nothing new under the sun’. Try as they may, no degree of sophistry employed by boycott proponents can possibly convince us to accept the supremacy of the au courant morality over the ethics of our fathers, to not see this latest political attack through the lens of Jewish history, nor to avoid reaching the conclusion that – as in every generation – resistance to their assault will be fierce and, in time, succeed.
‘This too shall pass’.
A guest post by Joe Geary
NEWS: Middle East
In the usual weekly display of anti-Iranian feeling, thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of Tel Aviv after Saturday prayers, chanting “Death to Iran, Death to Islam” and burning effigies of President Rouhani and John Kerry.
We are hearing reports of several dead and dozens injured as five Christian churches have been attacked and set on fire by a Jewish mob in central Jerusalem after allegations that an Israeli Christian claimed to be the Prophet Moses. The man was arrested before he could be lynched. Doctors say he suffers from severe mental problems but could still face stoning if found guilty under Israel’s strict blasphemy laws.
Scenes of jubilation, music mingling with gunshots, were witnessed all over the Israeli town of Ashdod as Mr Avi Sand returned there after serving four years in prison for murdering an entire Arab family, including two young children and a three-month old baby. The town’s Mayor declared a Day of Celebration for his return. Flowers and sweets were distributed among the children in his honour. His poster could be seen on walls alongside other celebrated Israeli militants who had killed Arab civilians in recent years.
The Israeli Prime Minister has reiterated yet again his firm line on the fate of Muslims in the future state of Israel, following any successfully negotiated two-State peace talks. “Muslims have no right to live on this side of the border” he told the collected journalists. “We will not tolerate a single Arab on the Holy soil of Israel. Israel must be Muslim-frei.”
An Education Ministry inspection of a number of Jewish schools has revealed that Jewish children as young as five are routinely being taught not only that the whole of Palestine belongs to the Jews, but also that the Arabs who live there are descended from pigs and apes. A spokesman for the Ministry told the press: “They are only innocent animal stories for children, a bit like Aesop’s Fables”.
A group of Arab NGOs, the Red Crescent and UNWRA issued a joint statement today condemning the continued firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian centres, which they described as “war crimes”. “We deplore not only the loss of life but the terrible psychological trauma inflicted in particular on the children by these constant acts of barbarity”, a spokesman told us. Along with a number of sympathetic Western NGOs such as War on Want and Save the Children, they are documenting crimes against civilians which will help bring a case against Hamas at The Hague of preaching genocide.
In other news, the UN is expected later today to pass a motion condemning fifteen Arab states for human rights abuses including the enslavement of foreign workers, religious and gender apartheid and the widespread, indiscriminate use of torture and the death penalty. The Head of the Arab League was heard earlier to remark: “They have us bang to rights. All this has being going on for far too long. Well, forever, actually. It has to stop.”
And finally, on a lighter note, several witnesses are claiming to have seen what they describe as a pig slowly flapping its wings over the offices of the BBC and the Guardian newspaper in central London.
Well, some people will believe anything, won’t they?
- New CST report on antisemitic discourse in Britain slams the Guardian (cifwatch.com)
- The ugly, repugnant attack on a pro-Israel black American student (legalinsurrection.com)
- CiF Watch prompts Guardian correction over Arab Israeli population stats (cifwatch.com)
- Are Jews the most incompetent “ethnic cleansers” in the world? (cifwatch.com)
- BBC misrepresents Israeli PM’s criticism of EU disregard for PA incitement (bbcwatch.org)
- CAMERA Snapshots: The Economist Publishes — Then Pulls — Anti-Semitic Cartoon (camera.org)
On Nov. 18 we reminded readers that until the summer of 2012 the Guardian’s Style Guide stated that Tel Aviv is the capital of Israel – a shamefully false claim which was only officially retracted by their editors after a complaint was filed with the PCC. We noted this quintessentially Guardianesque misinformation in response to a recent report by their Middle East editor, Ian Black, titled ‘Hawks squawk even before Iran nuclear deal is sealed‘, Nov. 8.
Black’s report included this sentence:
Hardliners in Tehran, hawks in Tel Aviv and Washington, nervous Saudis and their Gulf allies are all alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear deal between Iran, the US and the international community [in Geneva].
As we noted, the context made it clear Black was referring to the putatively “hard-line” and “hawkish” political leaders within the governments of Iran, Israel and the United States. Yet, while the capitals (where the ‘seats of government’ is located) in Iran and the United States were of course correct, the paper’s Middle East “expert” bestowed this status to the wrong Israeli city.
Though no change was prompted to Black’s misleading Nov. 8 report after our complaints, the following sentence in Black’s latest report (a ‘Middle East Year in Review’ published on Dec. 19) included an update on the nuclear deal which, at the very least, is quite curious.
It is an interim [nuclear] agreement and faces opposition from hardliners in Tehran who mistrust the emollient Rouhani, Republicans in Washington and hawks in Jerusalem, where Israel – anxious to maintain its monopoly of (undeclared) nuclear weapons – was ignored by Barack Obama
Yes, those ‘squawking Zionist hawks’ are safely back in their nation’s capital.
We of course can’t formally claim credit for Black’s ‘evolving’ expertise in the subject of Jewish Geography which likely inspired his implicit acknowledgement that it is wrong to suggest that Tel Aviv is Israel’s capital. But, in the event that one of their contributors attempts similar rhetorical slights of hand in the future, you may want to ‘gently’ remind them of the following:
Our regular round up of posts from CAMERA affiliated sites:
Brooklyn College Hosts Ben White’s Lecture on ‘Israeli Apartheid’: Anti-Israel activist Ben White was invited to speak at Brooklyn College by the college’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Event is co-sponsored by two college departments. (in Focus)
SFSU President Condemns Campus Event With Slogan “My Heroes Have Always Killed Colonizers”: San Francisco State University President Les Wong publicly condemned this week an event held on campus in which students created posters that read, “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” The posters were displayed in the campus square, and were created as part of a larger event celebrating Edward Said, according to AMCHA. The event was organized by the General Union of Palestinian Students . (in Focus)
Where’s the coverage? : With the exception of two media, Spanish press did not cover the murder of the young Israeli Eden Atias at the hands of a Palestinian. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)
The order of the factors alters the product : Europa Press not only ignored the murder of Eden Atias, but used the incident as a pretext to insist portraying once again the Palestinians as “victims”. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)
Impartiality: Europa Press offers 367 words to the Palestinian version and only 27 to the Israeli. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)
Pattern: A brief review of the coverage of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict of Europe Press shows a very striking pattern: the agency appears to officiate as a spokesman for Hamas. (ReVista de Medio Oriente)
Where’s the coverage?: Censorship on the press by the Palestinian Authority is silenced by Spanish-speaking media (ReVista de Medio Oriente)
A Return to Bias: Our CAMERA Fellow at Concordia writes in her Op-Ed that “Israel was the only specific country on the agenda when the United Nations met on September 10, 2013. At this time the world was praying for the victims of chemical weaponry in Syria. The UN made no specific or emergency condemnation of Syria at the time. It took a backseat to the permanent agenda article against the Jewish State. The executive director of UN Watch, Hillel Neuer noted that day that the same amount of time was allotted to Israel as was committed to the rest of the world. (In Focus)
The Scary World of Uri Misgav: Uri Misgav’s column is analysed applying the same psychoanalytic method he applies to others. (Presspectiva)
The New York Times Admits Its Error: The New York Times publishes an apology for illustrating a shocking terror attack, with a picture of the terrorist’s mother (Presspectiva)
BBC misrepresentation of Israel’s stance on Iran talks continues in Kim Ghattas report: The BBC’s State Department correspondent was the latest to misinform audiences about Israel’s stance on P5+1 deal. (BBC Watch)
Arab Israeli Citizen Shares Minority Experience with SF State: CAMERA on Campus Is In the News! This article was written by Guadalupe González and was printed in the Golden Gate Xpress on October 29, 2013. (In Focus)
Evidently, some Palestinian prisoners don’t evoke Harriet Sherwood’s sympathy: Sympathetic portrayals of Palestinian terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails are something of a specialty for the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, yet she seems strangely unmoved when Palestinians are imprisoned (and often tortured) in Arab countries. (CiF Watch)
Napoleon, Ben Gurion and the Jewish State: Was Napoleon a harbinger of Zionism? (Presspectiva)
Tel Aviv, Israel’s Eternal Capital: Why the foreign media keeps claiming that Tel Aviv is the capital city of Israel. (Presspectiva)
We Must Take Ownership of Our Own Humanity: Eliot Hamilton of our CCAP group Claremont Colleges for Israel: “I have found that if I mention of the State of Israel, someone will not respectfully disagree with me, but will get angry with me personally for supporting something that they see as flawed. I did not expect to be disrespected so vehemently, or to experience such hatred. . .” (In Focus)
- CiF Watch prompts correction to extremely misleading Livni quote at ‘Comment is Free’ (cifwatch.com)
- Following CiF Watch post, Guardian amends ‘terrorist sperm’ story (cifwatch.com)
- Did CiF Watch “browbeat” Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson into submission? (cifwatch.com)
- The Tripod: CAMERA Links in 3 Languages – November 13th -19th edition (bbcwatch.org)
As absurd as it may seem to those unfamiliar with the ideological bias which colors most Israel related items published at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’, up until the summer of 2102 the Guardian’s Style Guide stated that Jerusalem is NOT the capital of Israel; Tel Aviv is”. This false claim was only retracted after a complaint was filed with the PCC.
In the August 7 edition of their ‘Corrections and Clarifications’ section, the Guardian accepted that “it is wrong to state that Tel Aviv – the country’s financial and diplomatic centre – is the capital”.
Here’s the Guardian Style Guide before the change:
So, while reading the following opening passage, in a Nov. 8 article by the Guardian’s Middle East Editor Ian Black (Hawks squawk even before Iran nuclear deal is sealed), keep in mind that the paper has at least officially ‘acknowledged’ that Tel Aviv is NOT the capital of Israel and that the seat of government is located in Jerusalem.
Hardliners in Tehran, hawks in Tel Aviv and Washington, nervous Saudis and their Gulf allies are all alarmed at the prospect of a nuclear deal between Iran, the US and the international community.
The context makes it clear that Black is referring to the putatively “hardline” and “hawkish” political leaders within the governments of Iran, Israel and the United States. Yet, while the cities (where the ‘seat of government’ is located) in Iran and the United States are correct, the paper’s Middle East “expert” bestows this status to the wrong Israeli city.
Jerusalem is of course where the Israeli Knesset, Supreme Court, Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office are located, and thus – by the Guardian’s own definition per it’s ‘amended’ style guide – is where the evidently ubiquitous ‘squawking’ Israeli ‘hawks’ routinely gather.
The Guardian erred on a fundamental fact about the Jewish state – ‘a mistake they’ve made more than once’.
Tom Jones shrugged off an especially anemic BDS campaign, and performed in front of a packed house at the Nokia Stadium in Tel Aviv last Saturday, fifteen years after his last show in the Jewish state.
Just for fun, here’s the original recording of his song in 1968:
- Sounds Israeli: Rihanna ‘finds love’ in Tel Aviv (cifwatch.com)
The international pop sensation Rihanna gave a spirited performance in front of more than 50,000 in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night. The following is an amateur video taken during the show of Rihanna singing her hit song, We Found Love.
(Additionally, you can click here to learn about the row which ensued after her show.)
- Rihanna fans streaming to see ‘only girl in the world’ in Tel Aviv (timesofisrael.com)
- Sounds Israeli: Rapper Ari Lesser speaks truth to BDS hypocrisy (cifwatch.com)
A recent edition of The Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) published their weekly top 20 photographs, which included this image of a new Israeli immigrant being greeted outside the old airport terminal by a cheering crowd:
The photographer is Oliver Weiken of EPA. Here’s the Observer caption:
An Israeli immigrant from the US is cheered by a crowd after her arrival at the Ben Gurion airport, near Tel Aviv. New immigrants predominantly move to Israeli settlements in the West Bank, a key negotiation point in potential new peace talks between Israel and Palestine
So, a photo depicting a joyous occasion for a new arrival to the Jewish state was contextualized by the editor to suggest that since such immigrants disproportionately become “settlers”, they can be seen as injurious to the peace process.
However, contrary to the claim made in the caption, most new immigrants do NOT move to “settlements” in the West Bank. As statistics over the last several years published by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics indicate, the most popular destinations are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, with a small minority going to the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
In 2012 there were 16,557 new Israeli immigrants, out of which only 664 moved to the West Bank.
In 2011 there 16,892 new Israeli immigrants, out of which only 540 moved to the West Bank.
In 2010, there were 16,663 new Israeli immigrants, out of which only 666 moved to the West Bank.
In 2009, there were 14,572 new Israeli immigrants, out of which only 675 moved to the West Bank.
So, over this four-year period, out of 64,684 new Israeli immigrants (Olim), 2,545 (about 4%) decided to move to communities across the green line – a figure which corresponds (roughly) with the total percentage of all Israeli citizens who live in the “settlements”.
The claim made in the Observer photo captions is false, and we will be seeking a correction.
(UPDATE: CiF Watch obtained a correction to this photo caption on August 6.)
- Keeping BBC audience’s eyes on the settlement ball (bbcwatch.com)