Guardian ‘inadvertently’ acknowledges that the Western Wall is NOT Judaism’s holiest site

As we’ve noted in previous posts, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (where the First and Second Jewish Temples stood) is the holiest site in Judaism.  The Western Wall, on the other hand, is merely the holiest site where Jews are currently permitted to pray – an uncontroversial, firmly established fact we leveraged to prompt a correction to a story at The Telegraph on Oct. 24 which falsely claimed that the Western Wall was the holiest site.  

Other news sites which have corrected their original false claims over the significance of the Western Wall include the LA Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the BBC (corrections which were prompted over the years by CAMERA).

In contrast to these corrections, however, the Guardian has engaged in characteristic obfuscations and stonewalling in refusing to revise Harriet Sherwood’s false claim regarding the Western Wall back in June.  Here’s Sherwood’s erroneous claim, which still hasn’t been amended.

During his three days in the Holy Land, he is scheduled to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed to be the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection; the Western Wall, the most revered site in Judaism

So, we were quite surprised to see the following caption accompanying a Guardian photo of a member of ‘Women of the Wall’ praying at the Western Wall (10 Photo Highlights of the Day, Nov. 4).

kotel

Whilst this is of course merely a photo caption, Guardian editors have, on occasion, revised such accurate descriptive text below their photos when they believed it to be misleading.  So we’ll continue to monitor this entry and see whether this inadvertent collision with accuracy is eventually ‘rectified’. 

CiF contributor Antony Loewenstein promotes lie about ‘Jews only roads’

When we learned that ‘Comment is Free’ was expanding into Australia, it was assumed that a marginal anti-Zionist Jew (and occasional CiF contributor) named Antony Loewenstein would be providing additional anti-Israel ‘commentary’, and his latest piece, though putatively not about Israel, didn’t disappoint.  Loewenstein’s ‘CiF’ post about the Australian opposition leader, ‘What would Tony Abbott’s foreign policy look like?‘, July 4, isn’t even tagged with “Israel”, yet a significant amount of space is devoted to warning Guardian readers of Abbott’s staunchly pro-Israel policies.  

Loewenstein writes the following:

Abbott seems to retain a Bush administration style perspective – you’re either with us or against us. He told Washington’s right-wing Heritage Foundation last year that, “Australia’s foreign policy should be driven as much by our values as our interests”. It isn’t clear what values he cherishes when he told the Central Synagogue in 2012 that, “[Israel is] a country so much like Australia, a liberal, pluralist democracy. A beacon of freedom and hope in a part of the world which has so little freedom and hope.” He made no mention of Israel occupying millions of Palestinians under brutal military rule. He went on: “When Israel is fighting for its very life, well, as far as I’m concerned, Australians are Israelis. We are all Israelis in those circumstances”. It’s a comic book reading of the Middle East (at least foreign minister Carr, along with British foreign secretary William Hague, now rightly calls Israeli colonies “illegal”).

When I met Abbott in Sydney in 2010 and challenged him to learn more about Israel’s flouting of international law, he reverted to familiar, right-wing Zionist talking points. Both the Liberal party and Zionist lobby remain upset that in 2012, Australia didn’t reject Palestine’s statehood at the UN. Foreign affairs spokesperson for the Coalition, Julie Bishop, has pledged to return Australia to an uncritical stance towards Israel, placing us in a very isolated position globally. (The Greens, especially senator Lee Rhiannon, condemns Israel’s destruction of aid projects in Palestine, some of which are funded by Canberra).

The hyperlink in the second paragraph copied above concerning “right-wing Zionist talking points” leads to a post at Loewenstein’s personal blog, which recounts a conversation he claims to have had with Abbott in 2010. The post includes the following claim:

After, while signing books, I approached Abbott again and we talked for a few minutes about the conflict. He said he had visited Israel as a guest of the government and only been taken to where they wanted to show him. When I said that there were Jewish-only roads in the West Bank, he said that was “bad” and looked uncomfortable.

Yes, ‘Jews-only’ roads in the West Bank would be “bad” if they existed. Of course, as CAMERA has definitely demonstrated in multiple posts over several years, the charge is a complete fiction. There are no “Jewish-only” roads in the West Bank.  Though there are some roads prohibited to Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel’s Arab citizens (and Israeli citizens of any religion or ethnicity) have just as much right to travel on those restricted roads as do Israeli Jews. .

An Arab shuttle bus travels on Highway 443, a road often incorrectly described as "Jewish-only" (Photo by Tamar Sternthal/CAMERA)

An Arab shuttle bus travels on Highway 443, a road often incorrectly described as “Jewish-only” (Photo by Tamar Sternthal/CAMERA)

Indeed, several media outlets have at times made similar mistakes about Israeli roads and then, upon being notified about their error by CAMERA, issued corrections. Here’s just one example from the Washington Post in 2010.

oneOther news outlets which corrected initial false claims concerning ‘Jews only’ roads include CNN, AP and the Boston Globe.

The charge that Israel has ‘Jews-only’ roads is a lie.

Perhaps Mr. Loewenstein may want to acknowledge that he was being dishonest about such roads, to both Mr. Abbott and the few people in Australia who may on occasion come across his blog.

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. 

The Guardian takes note of a Middle Eastern country not involved in “rendition”

A guest post by AKUS

Controversy over the practice of “rendition” has been intense. In a recent article in the Washington Post, the Post described it as a CIA program “to detain and interrogate foreign suspects without bringing them to the United States or charging them with any crimes”

The Washington Post illustrated how widely the practice was implemented with a map in an article headlined: A staggering map of the 54 countries that reportedly participated in the CIA’s rendition program, drawn from a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative  that lists each country by name and describes that country’s participation in the program.

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In case you cannot make out one little country that did not participate in the program, here’s an extract from that map of a certain area of the world:

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See it now?

On the other hand, it does not take much effort to see other countries, frequent critics of Israel, with well-organized, well-funded groups constantly threatening it with boycotts, decrying its policies and so forth, and even supporting its enemies with weapons and money.

There was a February 5th, 2013 column in the Guardian about this, too: CIA rendition: more than a quarter of countries ‘offered covert support’ . To my surprise, the Guardian managed to take note of Israel’s absence from the list of 54 countries:

Other countries are conspicuous by their absence from the rendition list: Sweden and Finland are present, but there is no evidence of Norwegian involvement. Similarly, while many Middle Eastern countries did become involved in the rendition programme, Israel did not, according to the OSJI research.

I, on the other hand, took note of South Africa’s name on the list. After all, one of the calumnies thrown at Israel, and found on a daily basis in the Guardian CiF section in the threads to the endless articles decrying Israel for this or that,  is that it resembles an apartheid state.  South Africa’s government, influenced in some measure by its Muslim Indian constituency, is one of the few outside the Middle East that has made it government policy to support boycotts of Israeli product, academics, and cultural groups.  South Africa is often held up as an example of what the imaginary “one state” would look like after the Jewish state vanishes and “Palestine” exists “between the sea and the river”.

But never fear that Guardianistas could possibly leave Israel out of the issue.  After one post that noted that Israel did not participate in the program, there was this comment:

 1.jpg

The thread quickly filled up with comment after comment claiming that even though the report did not name Israel, and the Guardian specifically took note of that, Israel was just as bad or even worse.

Even when a report does not mention Israel, the appetite for condemnation of Israel among Guardian readers is so developed that rather than discussing, for example, South Africa’s involvement, even the absence of Israel quickly becomes the topic de jour. Or, as the following poster noted in response to a comment no longer visible:

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The Washington Post:

The 54 governments identified in this report span the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America, and include: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

 

The Dead Baby War: Fisking Max Fisher

Cross posted by Richard Landes at Augean Stables under the full title: “The Dead Baby War: Reflections on Palestinian Thanatography and Western Stupefication”.

Max Fisher, formerly of the Atlantic Monthly, now the WaPo’s “foreign policy advisor,”  just posted a reflection on the war of images in the current Gaza operation. In it he makes every effort to be “even-handed.” And in the end, comes up empty-handed. A remarkable example of how intelligent people can look carefully at evidence and learn nothing. If I didn’t know better (which I don’t), I might think he was doing some “damage control,” if not for Hamas (in which case, presumably it would be unconscious), then for the paradigm that permits him not to acknowledge Hamas’ character.

The Israeli-Palestinian politics of a bloodied child’s photo

Posted by Max Fisher on November 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm

 

Left, a journalist for BBC Arabic holds his son’s body. Center, an emergency worker carries an Israeli infant from the site of a rocket strike. Right, Egypt’s prime minister and a Hamas official bend over a young boy’s body. (AP, Reuters, Reuters)

Wars are often defined by their images, and the renewed fighting between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas has already produced three such photographs in as many days. In the first, displayed on the front page of Thursday’s Washington Post, BBC journalist Jihad Misharawi carries the body of his 11-month-old son, killed when a munition landed on his Gaza home. An almost parallel image shows an emergency worker carrying an Israeli infant, bloody but alive, from the scene of a rocket attack that had killed three adults. The third, from Friday, captures Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, in his visit to a Gazan hospital, resting his hand on the head of a boy killed in an airstrike.

Each tells a similar story: a child’s body, struck by a heartless enemy, held by those who must go on. It’s a narrative that speaks to the pain of a grieving people, to the anger at those responsible, and to a determination for the world to bear witness. But the conversations around these photos, and around the stories that they tell, are themselves a microcosm of the distrust and feelings of victimhood that have long plagued the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Studiously even-handed. One of my favorite memes: “both sides…”

The old arguments of the Middle East are so entrenched that the photos, for all their emotional power, were almost immediately pressed into the service of one side or another.

Actually, there’s a huge difference between the sides. Israel has, over the years, shown enormous reluctance to use the photos of their dead and wounded to appeal for public sympathy; whereas Palestinians have actually created victims in order to parade their suffering in front of the public. Indeed, Palestinian TV revels in pictures of the dead (so much so, that when my daughter wanted to help me with some logging of PLO TV footage, I had to decline lest she be brutalized by the material). They systematically use the media to both arouse sympathy from an “empathic” West, and to arouse hatred and a desire for revenge among Arabs and Muslims. Nothing uglier.

Israel, on the other hand, studiously avoids pictures of the dead, and only a shocking incident like Ramallah can break those taboos. They were so reluctant to exploit these images that, even at the height of the suicide campaign (2002-3) they refused to release pictures of the dead victims. The two cultures could not be more different on this score, and yet, Fisher has no problem finding his symmetry.

To obfuscate this fundamental difference with a pleasing even-handedness symbolizes the literal stupefication of our culture that necessarily accompanies the politically correct paradigm (PCP1), founded on a dogmatic cognitive egocentrism. It forces one not to see critical information. It’s as if we were under orders to not notice everything that a good detective should pick up on, as if we were required to assist the clean-up crews that want to frame the story to their advantage. In such a world, the protagonists of the Mentalist, Lie to Me, Elementary, CSI, House, are not merely unwelcome, they are banished.

On Refugees and Racism: A Double Standard Against Israel

Cross posted by CAMERA

Recent press attention has focused on the repatriation of illegal African migrants from Israel. Reuters, the Associated Press, AFP, and UPI have disseminated stories. The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Financial Times, ABC, CNN, CBC, BBC and others have added their own reports.

None of this coverage has been complete. None has explained the context and difficult challenges facing Israel as a result of large-scale illegal immigration, particularly by non-Jews. Most of the media have depicted Israel as “rounding up,” “cracking down on,” “detaining,” “deporting,” “expelling,” and treating the migrants “like animals.”

But few media reports have been more offensive than a post on the blog of the reflexively anti-Israel British newspaper, The Independent. In his article, “Note to refugees from South Sudan: Israel is for the white man,” Richard Sudan tars Israel as openly racist and fascist, saying:

The continual persecution of the Palestinians, politically and ideologically, the military court system, and now the emerging negative view of non-white people should outline clearly what the overriding Israeli government consensus is. The superior race theory is one that we’ve seen in the past, and is the hallmark of theories centered on a perspective viewed through the prism of eugenics. Those theories are dangerous and they need to be relegated to the past-along with Zionism.

Richard Sudan ignores that Israel, alone among the nations, went out of its way to take in as free citizens black Africans — Ethiopian Jews airlifted in the 1980s and ’90s. In his efforts to falsely cast Israel as a racist state, he inadvertently betrays his own bias and either ignorance or dishonesty. He argues that Eritreans, South Sudanese, Ivorians and especially Palestinians have the right to be in Israel yet, according to his reasoning, only the Jews do not.

Whether overt, like Richard Sudan’s blog post, or more subtle, media coverage has framed Israel’s repatriation of illegal migrants incompletely, inaccurately and unfairly.

A Washington Post blog on the subject was peppered with words like “deportation” and “expulsion,”using the more apt term “repatriation” only once. And Isabel Kershner couldn’t resist a Holocaust reference in her New York Times article:

But the government clampdown is also ripping at Israel’s soul. For some, the connotations of roundups and the prospect of mass detentions cut too close to the bone.

“I feel I am in a movie in Germany, circa 1933 or 1936,” said Orly Feldheim, 46, a daughter of Holocaust survivors, as she doled out food last week to a long line of immigrants…

Does Feldheim mean to imply that those she’s assisting are in danger of being sent to Israeli death camps? By relaying this quote, does Kershner seek to conjure this idea? Inclusion of such misguided hyperbole distorts the news report.

International Law

There are an estimated 45,000-60,000 people currently living in Israel illegally, mostly from Eritrea and South Sudan. Some of them would be considered refugees by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):

The 1951 Refugee Convention establishing UNHCR spells out that a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

Many others would not be considered refugees, but instead migrants:

Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom.

Only refugees have protected status under international law and the preferred outcome for them is to be repatriated. According to the UNHCR Handbook for Repatriation and Reintegration Activities, “The UN General Assembly (GA) has repeatedly affirmed UNHCR’s function of promoting/facilitating the voluntary repatriation of refugees.”

So, when Israel undertakes a program to voluntarily repatriate several hundred South Sudanese refugees, it is absolutely legal. Repatriation is exactly the course taken in the case of Liberian refugees being repatriated from GambiaAngolan refugees being repatriated from NamibiaAngolan refugees being repatriated from ZambiaCongolese refugees being repatriated from Burundi,Ivorian refugees being repatriated from Liberia, and the refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo being repatriated from the Republic of Congo.

In all of the above cases U.N. member countries,through the UNHCR, funded in large part by the United States, pick up the tab. But in Israel’s case, the people of Israel are paying — adult migrants reportedly received $1,300 each and children $650 each. In the non-Israeli cases, repatriated refugees received much less, only a few hundred dollars each.

However, the main thing that differentiates the repatriation of refugees from other countries from the repatriation of refugees from Israel is that there’s no outrage about it. Only Israel is singled out for widespread coverage, much of it tilted to the negative by repeated omissions.

The History

The press has overlooked Israeli history, ignoring Operation Moses, Operation Joshua and Operation Solomon; herculean efforts by the government of Israel to bring Ethiopian Jews, black Ethiopian Jews, to Israel. In a recent article in The Jerusalem Post, journalist Ayanawo Fareda Sanbatu, who came to Israel in Operation Solomon wrote:

The relationship began with Menachem Begin’s note to the Mossad, “bring me the Ethiopian Jews,” and it was translated into action as Israel sent operators into enemy lands to help the Ethiopian Jews. In the middle of the night many Jews left their villages and, without maps but only faith to guide us, we walked through the hills and deserts of Ethiopia and Sudan to freedom. This helped unite us with the living Zion.

Never before had black Africans been taken from Africa, not from freedom to slavery but from slavery to freedom. No other nation has ever done that. Only Israel.

 

The media also ignores the history of the Vietnamese “Boat People.” After the United States retreated from South Vietnam and North Vietnamese communists took over, hundreds of thousands fled to escape persecution and oppression. Many took to small, rickety boats, braving the weather and the threat of pirates. Countless thousands perished.

On June 10, 1977, an Israeli cargo ship en route to Japan crossed paths with a boat carrying 66 Vietnamese refugees. Their SOS signals had been ignored by passing East German, Norwegian, Japanese, and Panamanian boats. The Israeli captain and crew offered food and water and brought the passengers aboard. Neither Hong Kong, then ruled by Great Britain, nor Taiwan would accept the refugees so the Israeli ship transported them to Israel where Prime Minister Menachem Begin authorized their Israeli citizenship. Between 1977 and 1979, Israel welcomed over three hundred Vietnamese refugees.

Related articles

The Washington Post’s Coverage of Israel: Slouching towards the Guardian at Easter

A Guest post by AKUS

In December last year I wrote a column headed The Washington Post’s coverage of Israel: Slouching towards the Guardian? about the unusual way the Washington Post covered Israel’s use of drones over Gaza and pointed out that “it seems to have become strikingly similar in content and tone to the Guardian”.

This was followed by Scott Wilson, The Washington Post’s anti-Israel attack dog: Slouching towards Harriet Sherwood?, which showed the resemblance between Scott Wilson’s coverage of Israel and the Harriet Sherwood‘s approach in the Guardian. Scott  provided a polite rebuttal to the idea that he is the Washington Post’s “attack dog, but the tone and method employed in the article was strikingly similar to the typical Guardian article – inaccuracies, no context, and a half-hearted editorial apology after CAMERA called them out (which is more than the Guardian provides in most cases).

On April 4th, 2012, the Washington Post published  a Guardian-like article by Richard Stearns about Easter in Jerusalem: “A dark Easter for Palestinian Christians” in its problematic “On Faith” section which was replete with …  yes, inaccuracies, no context, and, in place of an apology, a furious rebuttal by Israel’s US Ambassador, Michael Oren.

The Washington Post’s “On Faith” section has been a fertile ground for anti-Semitic articles and below-the-line anti-Semitic commentary.

In March 2011 the paper instituted a moderation policy in order to clean things up below the line, but Stearns’ article shows that they have a long way to go in fixing what is wrong above the line. His article resembles the annual articles that appear in the Guardian at Easter and Christmas about the plight of the Christians in the West Bank. Their problems are always presented as Israel’s fault, rather than due to the widely reported policies and actions of the Moslem Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank intended to drive Christian Arabs out.

For example, last Christmas, the Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood wrote ‘If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed even though there were an estimated 100,000 visitors to Bethlehem – more than ever, and compared to 70,000 the year before – and accommodation was impossible to find.

In response to Stearns’ article, on April 5th, 2012, the Israeli Ambassador, Michael Oren, termed the article “libelous”:

“The claims made in a recent article by Richard Stearns (“A dark Easter for Palestinian Christians”) are completely without foundation and are libelous to the State of Israel.”

Stearns first bemoaned the need for security checks for Arabs entering Jerusalem from the West Bank (amusing to anyone who has had to pass thorough the security checkpoints to attend the July 4th celebrations on the Washington, DC Mall after 9/11) and followed with outlandishly incorrect data about the number of permits issued to West Bank Christians.

Stearns made no effort at all to explain why Israel maintains checkpoints and security barriers to protect the Christians and other visitors that flock to the Old City of Jerusalem year round, but especially during festivals such as Easter and Christmas. Instead,  he describes the security measures and number of visitor permits (visas, in effect) in a way that makes it appear that Israel is deliberately trying to prevent Christians from visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Easter to witness the ancient “Holy Fire” ritual:

Because of travel restrictions in past years, the vast majority of Christians living in the West Bank have been stopped at checkpoints and prevented from attending one of the most important religious services of the year. Israeli authorities require permits for entering Jerusalem. Local Christians estimate that only 2,000 — 3,000 permits are provided, despite the overwhelming desire among the 50,000 Palestinian Christians to travel from the West Bank and Gaza for the Easter week celebrations in Jerusalem.

Those who make it across checkpoints and into Israel are still barricaded by numerous walls and other security obstructions. As a result, even many who have permits are unable to make it to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In 2010, a Palestinian colleague of mine at World Vision, who had warm memories as a child of the Holy Fire service, was able to return to the Holy Sepulchre. She described the scene for those able to gain entrance to the church: “The crowd, striving to stay joyful, could still feel the change of what Easter had now become and the dark cloud of checkpoints, police forces, and denial of entry that had obscured the joy of this holiday.”

Now, in fact, as Oren pointed out, this is libelous and the description of the celebrants is nonsense. First, the number of permits cited by Stearns is wrong by an order of magnitude:

“Israel has provided more than 20,000 permits this year for Palestinian Christians to enter Jerusalem for the Good Friday and Easter holidays. Five-hundred similar permits have also been issued to the remaining Christians of Gaza, though the area is under the control of the terrorist organization Hamas.

Second, the “dark cloud” he refers to is belied by the joyful pictures of the worshippers   inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre during the “Holy Fire” ceremony

Yes, there were police on hand to keep order, and protect against any terrorists who might feel this would be an opportune time to create a massacre in a crowded church that would discourage Christians from visiting Israel.

Moreover, police have been required, upon occasion, to intervene in violent confrontations between Christians of different sects over some slight or perceived infringement on their historical claims to some particular section of the Church or its property, as shown in the conflict between Greek and Armenian monks  in this clip from 2008 or this fight in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in December 2011, when Palestinian police had to intervene.

Third, I found particularly infuriating his insinuation that Israel is persecuting Christians, when in fact it is the only country in the Middle East in which Christians are not only free to practice their religion, but their numbers are increasing:

Again, WaPo

While the ancient Christian communities around Jerusalem await the miracle of the Holy Fire this week, I pray for another miracle — one that would give full religious freedom to the Christians in the West Bank and Gaza.

This is utterly outrageous. The reason that Christians in the West Bank and Gaza do not have religion freedom is because the Arab authorities there – the PA, Fatah, and Hamas – have made it their policy and practice to make it less and less acceptable for Christians to live there.

Moreover, in the main section of its own paper, not the problematic “On Faith” section, the Washington Post had the following article which describes the visit to Jerusalem this Easter by Copts from Egypt:

Defying church ban, Egyptian Christians defy church ban and travel to Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — After the death of their spiritual leader, more than 2,000 Egyptian Copts have poured into the Holy Land for the Easter holidays, defying a ban he imposed on visiting Jerusalem and other Israeli-controlled areas.

The influx — after decades when Egyptian pilgrims were a rarity — adds a new element to the already diverse mix of languages and faiths in Jerusalem’s Old City during the holy season. The pilgrims are clearly distinguished by the Egyptian accent of their Arabic and long cotton robes worn by many of the men.

The Copts, mostly middle-aged or senior citizens have been busy milling around the Holy Sepulcher throughout the week. They have trundled to Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, built on the site where they believe Jesus was born. They have shopped and haggled on the way, charming many Palestinians with their Egyptian accents and humor, made familiar throughout the Arab world through generations of popular Egyptian movies and soap operas.

So what is going on at the Washington Post?

Once again I am left wondering, since it still has relatively frequent articles that fairly represent Israel from columnists like Jackson Diehl and blog extracts from right-wing bloggers like Jennifer Rubin and even occasional editorials that fairly represent Israel’s positions and concerns. There is even an Easter article by a Christian woman with a Jewish aunt pointing out the dangers that Easter has posed for Jews, At Easter, remembering Passover, due to the reading of the story of the crucifixion:

As at many churches, my church had just read the Passion narrative according to the Gospel of John: “[T]he Jews . . . cried out, ‘Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!’ ” The vilification of “the Jews” in John’s Gospel has had murderous consequences through the ages — and although Christians turned on Jews at many times of year, the Triduum was especially violent. As the 15th-century Rabbi Joseph Cohen said about Good Friday, “Every year we live in fear of this day.”

As I left church on Friday, I was worrying about what we have forgotten: the killing that our ecclesial forebears undertook on Good Fridays past. We have forgotten that sermons and liturgies prompted this killing.

Yet the editors seem to be unaware of how articles like Stearns’ Easter article, usually found in the  “On Faith”  section, are put forward to revisit old Christian antagonisms to Israel and Jews and  a Guardian-like view of Israel and the Palestinians.

Data about Israel and the West Bank are copious and easy to find, and errors of a factor of ten and obvious bias and misrepresentation should not be tolerated. The Washington Post needs to tighten up its reviews of articles about Israel Judaism, especially in the “On Faith” section.

It should institute clear policies that demand accuracy, truthfulness, and lack of bias from all its contributors and journalists writing about Israel and Judaism if it is not to become a copy of the Guardian in its treatment of the Middle East and Israel in particular.

Scott Wilson, The Washington Post’s anti-Israel attack dog: Slouching towards Harriet Sherwood?

A guest post by AKUS

I first noticed Scott Wilson specifically when he managed to have a three page article published in the Washington Post about the role of drones used by Israel over Gaza: The Washington Post’s coverage of Israel: Slouching towards the Guardian?

The theme of the story was one of poor innocent Gazans fearing assassination by Israel when spotted going about their daily business by Israeli drones. Strangely enough, this article was followed by numerous articles in the WP that covered America’s use of drones in various countries, but never mentioning the effect, if any, they have on civilians.

Wilson’s specialty in his articles is slipping in nuanced misrepresentations about Israel that are probably overlooked by the majority of Washington Post readers. They help to paint a subtly inaccurate picture of Israel. For example, drones are not used to detect and deter terrorists – they are there to terrorize the innocent Gazans.

CAMERA  caught Wilson out in an attempt to avoid naming Israel’s capital as Jerusalem when he wrote in an article headed Obama to Iranian people in holiday message: ‘Americans seek a dialogue:

Obama’s more aggressive message this year reflects the increasing concern in Washington, Tel Aviv and other capitals about Iran’s enrichment program, which Israel believes will be used to produce a nuclear weapon.

The Washington Post amended the article with a rather lame and excessively detailed apology:

Correction:

An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel. Israel designated Jerusalem as its capital in 1950, although many countries maintain embassies and other diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv because of the Palestinians’ competing claim on Jerusalem as their capital. This version has been corrected.

They corrected the text of the article to:

Obama’s more aggressive message this year reflects the increasing concern in the United States, Israel and other countries about Iran’s enrichment program, which Israel believes will be used to produce a nuclear weapon.

Thus the editors avoided the heinous sin of actually acknowledging that Jerusalem is, in fact, Israel’s capital. (But perhaps their real purpose was that by removing the equally disputative term “Washington” they avoided a confrontation with the 500 survivors of the Patawomeck tribe that once lived in the area now occupied by 2.6 million “settlers” in the Northern Virginian suburbs alongside the Potomac River, and perhaps even the grounds on which their own office now stands in the District of Columbia).

Of course, Jerusalem-avoidance is a popular sport these days in Washington, at least when the subject is Israel (or Jews) and Jerusalem. This was demonstrated at the State Department press briefing on March 28, 2012 by Victoria Nuland when she refused to say that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital:

QUESTION: Does that mean that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?

MS. NULAND: Jerusalem is a permanent status issue; it’s got to be resolved through negotiations.

QUESTION: That seems to suggest that you do not regard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Is that correct or not?

MS. NULAND: I have just spoken to this issue –

In any event, Mr. Wilson needs watching. Once I became interested, I found that although I had noticed in his drone article how closely the Post’s former Jerusalem correspondent hews to the line laid down in the Guardian and followed by the likes of Harriet Sherwood, his track record of Israel bashing is lengthy. It has not gone unnoticed, though never garners the notoriety that it deserves.

Here’s one example of Wilson’s bias. 

March 16, 2010: Scott Wilson, Washington Post: For Israeli leaders, snubbing the U.S. may not be a political win attacks AIPAC with the toxic narrative that AIPAC controls the political process in the U.S.:

the Obama administration shows no sign of cooling off, despite the sense that only masochistic U.S. politicians pick fights with Israel because the powerful Jewish lobby punishes anyone who does so at the polls.

Here are two exposes by Leo Rennert, who has also noticed Wilson’s bias:

November 10, 2010 – Leo Rennert: A WaPo reporter’s anti-Israeli bias stretches from Sderot to Jakarta

When Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson did a stint as the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, he earned a well-deserved and well-documented reputation for anti-Israel bias, shading and spinning his copy to portray Israel in the darkest of hues while swallowing Palestinian narratives hook, line and sinker.  Wilson spared no effort in writing lengthy up-close and personal features about the plight of Palestinians in Gaza, but studiously avoided chronicling the plight of Israeli residents of Sderot when they were prime targets of thousands of missiles launched from Gaza.

 March 4, 2012: Leo Rennert: On Scott Wilson, The Washington Post, And How Israel Is (Mis)Represented To Readers

Obama said he’s confident that Israel takes him at his word.  “The Israeli government recognizes that, as president of the United States, I don’t bluff,” he remarked.  “Both the Iranian and the Israeli government recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapons, we mean what we say.”

Yet, in its March 3 … main front-page article  [“Obama to urge Israel’s patience – A Caution Against Strike On Iran – Plans to ask Netanyahu to let sanctions work” by Scott Wilson] , the Post cast the summit not as a meeting of two allies about how to confront the Iranian threat, but instead about Obama grappling with a possibly premature Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.  Reading the Post, you’d think the main danger comes from Israel, not from the mullahs in Tehran.

And in a revealing peek into Wilson’s animus against Israel, there is his description [in the March 3 article] of  AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, not as a U.S. group, which it is, but as an Israeli one, which it isn’t – in his words, “the Jewish state’s most conservative and politically influential U.S.-based advocacy group.”

Thus, when Obama addresses AIPAC this weekend, according to Wilson, he will be the guest of an influential subsidiary of the state of Israel.  In one swoop, Wilson strips AIPAC of its U.S. identity.

For media monitors who followed Wilson’s stint as a Mideast correspondent, the bias is all too familiar.

Unfortunately the Washington Post, which still has relatively frequent articles from columnists like Jackson Diehl and blog extracts from right-wing bloggers like Jennifer Rubin and even occasional editorials that fairly represent Israel, seems to be unaware of Wilson’s tilt towards a Guardian-like view of Israel and the Palestinians.

We should keep an eye open for more of his nuanced prejudices surfacing in that paper, and call him out when needed.

Help the Guardian improve its Eyewitness Photograph “Pro tips”

A guest post by AKUS

The Guardian believes it has a role to play in providing useful tips to help photographers improve their skills. It runs a series of “Eyewitness” photographs alongside a “Pro tip” explanation of the manner in which a professional photographer has used his or her viewpoint to increase the impact of image displayed.

Of course, this being the Guardian, it is also a useful way to sneak in a little bit of anti-Israeli propaganda.

Take the “lesson” from Saturday, December 17th, 2011, which as it happens, except for a snapshot from Liege, seems to be the only “Eye-witness” photograph in the last couple of months to show any kind of violence:

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Guardian Pro tip accompanying photo above

You have to admire the sheer bloody-minded consistent bias of the Guardian’s editors. Not content with constantly posting articles about Israel devoid of context, they admire how a photographer has created an image “divested of context” designed to show a solitary figure we are obviously supposed to assume is a “Palestinian youth” being bombarded for no particular reason in a huge “assault” of tear gas fired by, we are supposed to assume, a myriad of Israelis.

Surely they could do better than this?  Take the far more dramatic image below from the increasingly violent end to the “Arab Spring” in Cairo from today’s Washington Post:

Here’s my Protip:

World news: Arab world – Egypt – Protest

By framing the scene in this way, with the boy in the foreground pushed to the front of the frame, the photographer has provided the scene with context and emphasised the scale of the violence as the stone-throwing and arson blend into one.

You are welcome to add your suggestions for the Guardian’s editors to consider.

The Washington Post’s coverage of Israel: Slouching towards the Guardian?

A guest post by AKUS

Something strange is happening at the Washington Post. 

Famous for its investigative reporting ever since the Watergate affair, now, when reporting on Israel, it seems to have become strikingly similar in content and tone to the Guardian. As we know, the Guardian recently won Honest Reporting’s 2011 ‘Dishonest Reporting’ Award and the Washington Post seem to be on its way to  becoming a serious candidate for the same “honor” next year.

Take the recent story in the Washington Post about Israel’s use of drones over Gaza to identify terrorist activity.

The web version appears at: In Gaza, lives shaped by drones.

The print edition ran as a front page, above-the –fold news story. In fact, it occupied almost the entire front page, which is quite unusual for an article that does not contain breaking news or an investigative report. Since this area is the first thing readers see when they pick up the paper editors will reserve that space for their most important stories. This is what it looked like in the print version, under the very different headline: DRONES CAST A PALL OF FEAR”.  The story ran for another two full pages inside the paper: Here, here and here.

The article and web version are eerily reminiscent of the Guardian’s reporting.  The entire article focuses entirely on the attitudes of seemingly peaceful Gazans going about the normal things people do – going to cafes, driving their cars, jogging. There is a little map to show where the drones are supposed to originate from, and on the web there is a video clip of a drone with the legalistic caption “a third-party video that has not been independently verified by The Washington Post”  and a gallery of pictures intended to show drones and their effects.

The article includes casually misrepresentative “facts” provided by one side only, with no attempt at obtaining an Israeli version of the information provided:

For example:

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says 825 people have been killed by drones in Gaza since the capture of Shalit, who was released in October. Most of those killed, according to the organization, have been civilians mistakenly targeted or caught in the deadly shrapnel shower of a drone strike. 

In fact, it is doubtful that anyone has been killed by an Israeli drone since Israel’s drones are, apparently, as the Gazans in the video clip say, small unarmed reconnaissance vehicles.  Like the one shown in the web version of this story:

When an Israeli strike is carried out it is carried out by a plane or helicopter piloted by  a human being who has the authority to abort the mission if he or she believes it will endanger civilians not connected with the terrorist activity. Israel makes extraordinary efforts to avoid killing civilians despite the fact that Hamas and other terrorists deliberately operate from residential areas while firing missiles into Israel.

Interestingly, Scott Wilson, who authored this article and whose approach to the conflict is eerily similar to that of the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, threw in this follow-on comment:

 By comparison, the New America Foundation says U.S. drones have killed at least 1,807 militants and civilians in Pakistan since 2006.

Suffice it to say that I have never seen a full-page article about “the pall of fear” in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, or elsewhere that US drones operate. It is worth noting that according to the dates provided, over the same 5 year period US drones, which are far larger than Israeli drones and are weaponized, are claimed by a US source to have killed more than twice as many people in only one of the countries in which the US is operating against groups similar to Hamas. The overall total must be higher.

On the same front page of the Washington Post, two stories that should be of far greater interest to the US reader are literally pushed to the side – Herman Cain’s resignation from the presidential race, and the ongoing issue of illegal immigration and border arrests.

As it happened, another drone story surfaced shortly afterwards – the downing or crash of a US drone in Iran.  This drone story first appeared in a side column above the fold on the front page. 

While there have been numerous follow-up report in the Post about this issue, including Obama’s abject request for the Iranians to return the drone, none of the reports discuss US drones “spreading a pall of fear” over any country in which they fly. In fact, quite rightly in my opinion, drones are regarded as a relatively low-cost, effective way to prosecute a campaign against distributed terror organization hiding out in inaccessible regions. However there are no articles that seriously suggest, for example, that the US should not be over flying and killing people in countries with which it is not technically at war, while Israeli surveillance activity over Gaza, from where rocket are fired daily into Israel, is clearly being portrayed as illegitimate by Scott Wilson.

The Washington Post has also become adept at picking up the same negative stories about Israel, probably from the same Arab sources, that the Guardian publishes day after day.

For example, Joel Greenberg wrote an article that clearly derives from the same source as Harriet Sherwood’s article about relocating the Bedouin near Maale Adumim.  (The Bedouin have become the new front in the media war to delegitimize Israel).

Read Sherwood’s article, Israel to forcibly remove bedouin communities in settlements push and compare it with Greenberg’s report on the same matter: Israeli plan to move West Bank Bedouin stirs controversy

While not word for word, and more nuanced than Sherwood’s even in the headline, the thrust of the article is the same and the “facts” reported are clearly rewrites of  material from the same source – almost certainly a Palestinian or anti-Israeli NGO organization, or, as cited by Greenberg, UNRWA, which now appears to regard Bedouin as having being transmuted into “Palestinian refugees” in its never-ending efforts to justify and expand its unique role in creating ever more refugees, generation after generation.

 There are slight differences in the language but the overall “facts” presented are the same.

Israel’s claim that moving people squatting in shacks to areas where there is electricity, running water and sewage facilities is scornfully cast aside in favor of a clear implication that this is ethnic cleansing, backed up by uncorroborated claims of such from unnamed “UN agencies in the West Bank” other than UNRWA (Greenberg) and, of course, various “human rights groups”.

In both cases, there is a clear implication that connecting Maale Adumim to greater Jerusalem will bisect the West Bank, which is, of course not true. There will still be a corridor of about 15 km between Maale Adumim and the Jordan Valley – about the same width as Israel at its narrowest point opposite the West bank.

The same story about a school built of old tires appears in the text of Sherwood’s article and as a caption to a video clip on the Washington Post’s web version of the story. In both articles, the idea that people should not simply squat wherever they wish, something that is not tolerated in the US or the UK, is never mentioned. Instead, a sense of some historical right to do so is invoked and the destruction of a noble nomadic culture is implied.

The coverage of Israel in the Washington Post is becoming increasingly and obsessively negative, as is the Guardian’s.  Here is a short list of articles just by Joel Greenberg, who seems to be a combination of the Guardian’s Sherwood and their new reporter from Ramallah, Phoebe Greenwood.

Each of these stories appearing once or twice a week portrays Israel in a negative way or a manner that may raise concern about Israel’s action with subtle bias in the choice of language, rather as Henry Silverman has shown Reuters does:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/joel-greenberg/2011/03/02/AFggWcAH_page.html

The articles the Washington Post publishes about Israel are unlike those it reports about any other country, just as we have seen with the Guardian.

Something is happening at the Washington Post, one of the world’s most influential newspapers situated in the heart of the US capital, and it bears watching.

Palestinian Intransigence

A guest post by AKUS

Five rivers converged in Middle Eastern affairs this week – the Jordan, the Hudson, the Nile, the Thames, and the Potomac.

Those who live alongside the Jordan – Israel and the West Bank Arabs – each sought support in the Security Council in the UN alongside the Hudson for their opposing views on the Palestinian Authority’s resolution calling on the Security Council to condemn Israel for continuing to build settlements on the Jordan’s West Bank. Never mind that not a single new settlement has been built, to my knowledge, in something like eighteen to twenty-four months, and that Israel also obeyed the USA’s demand to stop building apartments for nine months in a futile attempt to entice Mohammad Abbas and the disgraced Saeb Erekat back to the negotiating table. The USA vetoed the one-sided resolution – the first veto since George W. Bush’s administration vetoed a resolution in 2006.

The Palestinian Authority scored the remarkable own goal of forcing the friendly Obama administration to distance itself from its demands.

While events along the Nile preoccupied the real world, in the UN’s alternative universe alongside the Hudson the count of Israeli apartments continued. Never mind that scores are reported dead in Libya, Yemen and Bahrain – the issue that concerns the world’s great powers is the building of apartments in East Jerusalem.

Alongside the Thames, the Guardian carried a report, US vetoes UN condemnation of Israeli settlements, that managed, as usual, to combine biased language with misrepresentation of the facts:

The US stood alone among the 15 members of the security council in failing to condemn the resumption of settlement building that has caused a serious rift between the Israeli government and the Palestinian authority and derailed attempts to kick-start the peace process.

The US “failed to condemn” – unlike, for example, Britain, which bravely succeeded in condemning Israel due to its sophisticated concern for Israel’s security:

William Hague said he understood Israeli concern for security, but said that was precisely why Britain had backed the resolution.

The “resumption of settlement building” of course refers to the resumption of building some apartments and community facilities in existing suburbs of Jerusalem. The Guardian is of the opinion that “the serious rift” between the Israeli Government and the PA has nothing to do with terrorism, the refusal to negotiate under any circumstances, the impossible demands made by the PA – it is all about apartment building.

The real attempt to “kick-start” the peace process was, of course, Israel’s agreement to test the PA’s seriousness by stopping all building activity for nine months. The Guardian makes no mention of this – it has already been brushed out of the Guardian’s view of Middle East history and the fact – the fact! – that the Palestinian Authority refused to negotiate even when Israel agreed even to suspend building any apartments, not just settlements, has been erased, just as Stalin used to erase faces from photographs and facts from books to create his own history.

The Guardian cited a representative of the PA who wasted no time in using the current term “intransigence” applied to Israel in their talking points, just as the word “disproportionate” is used to describe any Israel response to terrorist attack:

The Palestinian observer at the UN, Riyad Mansour, said the veto was unfortunate. “We fear … that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity,” he said.

Fortunately, where it counts a lot more and reality appears to be in vogue, alongside the Potomac the Washington Post had scathing comments for Abbas and his team and their real intransigence in an editorial – Abbas proves he prefers posturing to a peace process.

PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT Mahmoud Abbas claims to be interested in negotiating a two-state peace settlement with Israel. For two years he has enjoyed the support of a U.S. president more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause than most, if not all, of his predecessors. Yet Mr. Abbas has mostly refused to participate in the direct peace talks that Barack Obama made one of his top foreign policy priorities – and now he has shown himself to be bent on embarrassing and antagonizing the U.S. administration….

The Obama administration has all along insisted that Mr. Abbas is willing and able to make peace with Israel – despite considerable evidence to the contrary. If the U.N. resolution veto has one good effect, perhaps it will be to prompt a reevaluation of a leader who has repeatedly proved both weak and intransigent. (My emphasis).

The Guardian should follow the Washington Post’s lead and take a closer look at who is intransigent. If its pandering has any effect at all, and if it really had the Palestinian’s interests at heart, it would learn to lay the blame where it should rather than encouraging the PA to believe that they are moving forward by embarrassing the first US administration in a decade that has shown any support for them.