Independent’s demonization of Israel continues: Op-ed accuses state of genocide

As we noted earlier in the week, the Independent doesn’t have a correspondent in the region, but has a stable of Israel ‘critics’ ready on a moment’s notice to launch polemical assaults on the Jewish State.  Last week, they published one op-ed (by Mira Bar-Hillel) which evoked Nazi Germany in vilifying Israeli military actions in Gaza, and another one (by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown) which all but accused Israel of engaging in a plan to exterminate the Palestinians.

This week, Mira Bar-Hillel (a British Jew who has admitted to being antisemitic) returns in a July 17th op-ed erroneously suggesting that the Israeli media has demanded the IDF bomb Gaza “back to the Stone Age” (see here), and accusing the country of believing that “Palestinians aren’t quite human”.  (She also falsely claimed that no Israelis were killed during previous Gaza war in 2012.)

Another July 17th op-ed by Yana Hawari actually endorsed Hamas’s refusal to agree to a ceasefire last week, and finished her diatribe with the following accusation:

It [the war] also allows them to break up the unity between Hamas and Fatah. But most importantly it allows them to continue the strangulation and the genocide of the Palestinian people of Gaza in front of an international audience. 

Of all the hateful, perverse smears against Israel leveled by the hard-left against Israel, the genocide charge is by far the most ludicrous, and the most pernicious. 

As we’ve argued previously, debating the “question” of whether Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians seems at first glance to be as productive as ‘arguing’ whether or not Jews are trying to take over the world. However, unlike the latter charge, which, no matter how bigoted and irrational, is not really quantifiable, the former malicious smear – reflecting the “Israel as the new Nazis“ narrative – can be easily refuted by a few population statistics.

  • The Palestinian population in the West Bank increased from 462,000 in 1949 to more than 2.5 million today.
  • In Gaza, the population increased from 82,000 in 1949 to 1.7 million today.

Additionally, to add further context:

  • The number of Arabs killed (since 1920) in Arab-Israeli wars is far less than the number of Arabs killed by Arabs in Syria alone since 2011.

As a point of reference, the Jewish population of Gaza and Palestinian controlled West Bank is practically zero (save a few pro-Palestinian “journalists” who reside there), while the Jewish population in the entire Arab Middle East has decreased from over 850,000 in 1949 to less than 5,000 today.  (Yet, relatedly, despite the almost complete disappearance of Jewish inhabitants in territories they control, some Palestinian and Arab leaders often incite their citizens to engage in the mass murder of Jews in Israel, and even in the diaspora.)

The broad charge that Jews are ethnically cleansing Arabs (Palestinians or otherwise) in the Middle East, based on the numbers, represents the opposite of the truth.  The only group which has actually been ethnically cleansed in the Middle East since the end of World War 2 has been Jews. (Though, it should be noted that Christians are also in danger of extinction.)

The Independent – which risibly claims to be guided by “enlightened” values and once even strongly denied that it demonizes Israel – should be ashamed of itself for peddling such lies.

Guardian editor defends Hamas’s right to kill Israelis, AGAIN.

During the last war in Gaza two years ago, Guardian associate editor Seumas Milne defended the Palestinian ‘right’ of armed resistance, while arguing that Israel, as the ‘occupying power’, had no such right to defend itself against Hamas (It’s Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves, Nov. 20, 2012).

“So Gazans are an occupied people and have the right to resist, including by armed force (though not to target civilians), while Israel is an occupying power that has an obligation to withdraw – not a right to defend territories it controls or is colonising by dint of military power.

Now, here is the relevant passage from Milne’s latest op-ed, published today (Gaza: this shameful injustice will only end if the cost of it rises, July 16th) at the Guardian:

So the Palestinians of Gaza are an occupied people, like those in the West Bank, who have the right to resist, by force if they choose – though not deliberately to target civilians. But Israel does not have a right of self-defence over territories it illegally occupies – it has an obligation to withdraw.

The only difference between the passages in the two op-eds relates to Milne’s expanded right of resistance. Note that in 2012 it was only Gazans who had the right to engage in acts of terrorism, while in 2014 both Gazans and West Bank Palestinians enjoy the inalienable ‘right’ to kill Israelis. 

However, Milne is consistent in both op-eds with regard to one thing: Israel has no right to defend itself from Hamas terror. 

While Milne’s justification for the intentional killing of Israelis is not surprising given his history of praising anti-imperialist “resistance movements” across the globe, the mere fact that his latest polemic is consistent with his broader political orientation certainly doesn’t make it any less morally repulsive.

Irish Times cartoon likens Israeli ‘slaughter’ to shooting fish in a barrel

We recently commented on a political cartoon in the Guardian highlighting the perceived asymmetrical nature of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and another cartoon decrying what was perceived to be the greater value placed on Israeli lives over that of Palestinians.  We also posted about a cartoon in the Independent which suggested that Israeli reaction to Hamas rocket attacks was not only ‘disproportional‘ but arguably inconsistent with Jewish values.

However, a cartoon by Martyn Turner at the Irish Times goes a step further, imputing to Israel a blind malevolence in slaughtering helpless Palestinians.

war monger

Though the evocation of the ‘shooting fish in a barrel’ meme is the most obvious element of the narrative, even more telling is the more focused depiction of the Israeli soldier’s deranged war lust (note the soldier’s face) in contrast with the helpless Palestinians (fish and other small creatures).  The latter can be seen in the drop of water spit by the fish, representing it seems the benign, harmless nature of Hamas attacks. 

Israel, according Turner, isn’t merely the aggressor in the war (note the ceasefire agreement in the soldier’s hand which he presumably has ignored), but is represented as bloodthirsty, vengeful, and merciless. 

Within the far-left ideological territory claimed by Turner (as well as other Irish Times contributors), Israel is often presented using the familiar motif of a mindless, destructive Goliath, while the extreme racism of the Palestinian Islamist movement ruling Gaza – one which openly aspires to murder Jews - is whitewashed, and its ‘fighters’ robbed of any semblance of moral agency.

Times of Israel editor notes Guardian’s “savage criticism” of the Jewish State

Ilan Ben Zion, political editor of Times of Israel, noted, in a column yesterday, the “savage criticism” of Israel in the UK media (especially at the Guardian) in coverage of the war with Hamas, especially in comparison with news outlets “on the other side of the pond”. 

After highlighting some of the sympathetic coverage towards Israel which has appeared in the Wall St. Journal, Ben Zion turned to the UK media, focusing on Times of London, as well as the Guardian:

Across the pond in London, The Times’ lead coverage placed its focus on the Palestinian civilian death toll, which “continued to spiral,” and the “mounting international pressure on Israeli leaders not to risk a potentially devastating ground offensive.” The paper also alluded to a degree of reluctance in the Israeli government to follow through with its pronouncement that it’d levy a heavy price on Hamas.

“Domestic support for a ground offensive is strong, with feelings running high after the killings of the three religious students in the West Bank,” the paper reported. “The need to answer that outrage may have helped fuel political rhetoric about a blistering offensive in Gaza without a clear commitment to actually undertake one.”

Ben Zion then turned to the Guardian:

Britain’s The Guardian featured an opinion piece by Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, in which he despairs that the world is standing by once again amid a “campaign of collective punishment against Palestinian citizens across the occupied territories.” He calls for international intervention to restrain the IDF, and urges world leaders to stop the escalation of violence “and prevent further slaughter.”

He says the asymmetry of the conflict is the root of its violence, but makes only passing reference to the relentless rocket attacks on Israeli citizens.

“The fact remains that an illegal military occupation has been in place for 47 years,” he says. “It is one that has transformed life for Palestinians into an oppressive system of apartheid. Without changing that, nothing else will change.”

One of the paper’s most popular commentaries (as of the time of this writing) compared the current conflict between Israel and Gaza to “Mike Tyson punching a toddler,” and decried the BBC’s coverage of the three-day conflict.

“The media coverage hardly reflects the reality,” writes Owen Jones. “A military superpower armed with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles (and nuclear bombs, for that matter), versus what [British Prime Minister] David Cameron describes as a ‘prison camp’ firing almost entirely ineffective missiles.”

No opinion pieces from the other side of the spectrum featured prominently on the British paper’s website

In addition to the examples cited by the Times of Israel editor, a few other articles and op-eds at the Guardian are worth noting:

  • An op-ed by Daniel Levy, a New Israel Fund board member and Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, was published at ‘CiF’ which defended Hamas – characterizing the Islamist group as reasonable, non-radical, “mainstream” nationalist movement.
  • letter, signed by the Guardian’s usual list of anti-Zionist activists, was published which accused Israel of “ethnically cleansing the indigenous population“, and actually criticized the BBC for its pro-Israel coverage!
  • Finally, a cartoon by Martin Rowson is emblematic of the media group’s coverage to date.  Rowson used Wimbledon as a theme to contrast the Israeli Goliath with the benign ‘rocket lobbing’ Hamasnik. 

martin rowson

Whilst the Guardian’s egregiously one-sided coverage of the war isn’t at all surprising , it’s always instructive nonetheless to note the widespread notoriety of a London daily aptly characterized by Jeffrey Goldberg as the”English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on earth”.

Why Israel has been forced to go to war: An op-ed by Dr. Denis MacEoin

A guest post by Dr. Denis MacEoin

I want you to imagine this. An independent Scotland, fired up by new-found freedoms and ruled by President Robbie Burns II, bursts into ructions of tartan nationalism. An army of men wearing kilts and sporrans, playing horrendous squalling tunes on their war pipes, advances to the border, calling for the destruction of England and the murder or expulsion of everyone who lives on what, they say, is former Scottish soil. Specially trained militias roll up and start to fire rockets into Northumberland and Newcastle, where I live. As some years pass, the rockets get bigger and their range longer, until York and Leeds are threatened. Thousands of these rockets are fired, and even if they do little physical harm, they force the inhabitants of the English North to cower in bomb shelters, running to them when sirens announce a fifteen-second gap before the latest rockets fall. Add to this that Scottish fighters have been infiltrating England for years beyond number, detonating car bombs, slitting throats, and blowing themselves up in shopping malls, restaurants and town squares, using suicide belts to kill as many English men and women and children as possible. In one case, a Scottish woman, treated for severe burns in the burns unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, returns for out-patient treatment wearing an explosive belt designed to murder the doctors and nurses who improved her life and is only caught thanks to the vigilance of soldiers at a checkpoint built to prevent such incidents.

Now ask yourself, what would the government of the UK do? Send for the Archbishop of Canterbury to organize national prayer vigils? Wring their hands and hope the belligerent Scots soon see the error of their ways? Apologize to their sworn enemies and evacuate the country (except, perhaps, Celtic Wales), relocating in a distant desert or hell-pit, assuming anyone, fired by post-colonial outrage, would take them? Do a Jim Jones and deliver bottles of cyanide-laced Flavor Aid to every household, and apologize to Scotland for forcing its undertakers to remove and cremate the bodies?

You know the answer as well as I do. Now, think again. The Scots love us and will probably vote against devolution. We love them and their Tam O’Shanters and their Loch Ness Monster. For bagpipes we may prefer the sweet tones of Irish uilleann pipes or Northumbrian pipes. But we have had our last wars with the Scots, who mean us no harm.

For Scotland in the first paragraph, write Gaza. For Scots, write Palestinians. The rest is true. The rain of missiles since 2007, the endless terror attacks on civilians before the security barrier almost put an end to them. The incitement in the Hamas Charter of 1988 to kill all Jews, never to make peace, never to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, never even to sit down to hold peace talks (which are called ‘a waste of time’). Palestinians suffer, but that doesn’t matter to Hamas (or, indeed, Fatah, who issue similar threats), for whom martyrdom is the highest aspiration. In Gaza and the West Bank (now allied in a unity government), the murderers of children and families are celebrated as national heroes, worthy of emulation. Can the UN cure that sickness? Will the Arab and Muslim states even try? Will the left in Europe and America stop their attacks and vilifications of Israel and Jews? Left-wingers who, not long ago, marched in cities in Europe chanting ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas’.

The burned woman who sought to kill the men and women who had saved her life was Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, a Palestinian from Gaza who was treated at Beersheva’s Soroka Medical Centre in early 2005 and who set out to return there bearing a medical licence, was captured at the Erez crossing by vigilant IDF soldiers, and imprisoned. She was released in 2011 as one of the prisoners freed to bring Gilad Shalit back to his family. On her release, she was welcomed home by a group of children. To them she said ‘I hope you will walk the same path we took and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs.’ I did not use the word ‘sickness’ above in a flippant or bigoted way. It is the only word I can choose to describe a society built on hatred, self-immolation and the destruction of the innermost fibre of little children.

And Jews will go to the gas the moment Hamas and its allies are victorious, and they will be victorious if Israel ever slackens in its vigilance and self-defence, and remains passive in its response to deadly rocket fire from a terrorist regime. Make no mistake about that. Stand in the shoes of those few who cried horror as they watched the Nazis come to power in Germany. By no means are all Palestinians Nazis, but Hamas and its allies are the nearest thing since 1945. Yet throughout the world’s media, Israel, one of the world’s finest democracies, a country that even as I write is performing heart operations on Palestinian children, is called the aggressor, its acts of self-defence pilloried as unbalanced and disproportionate. Of course, it’s unbalanced. If your enemy refuses to make peace and establish secure borders for both sides, if they do everything in their power to kill you and everyone you love, and destroy your cities, what choice would anyone have but to keep responding and responding yet again until they come to their senses, acknowledge international law, and make peace for their own sakes as much as for yours?

For two thousand years, Jews — I am not one — have been tortured, killed, expelled, and exterminated without respite. They have at last found, through the auspices of the League of Nations and the United Nations, and above all their own efforts through the Zionist movement, a haven, a place where they have the right to live in peace and security for once, and from which they can continue to make a most extraordinary contribution to the well-being of mankind. And Hamas pounds their haven with high explosives and threatens genocide while shouting to the world that they, not the Jews, are the victims in this drama even while they are nothing but the victims of their own mania and blood lust. This will attract comment, and that is well and good. But as a lifelong liberal, I will listen only to reasoned criticism, not accusations that Israel is a ‘Nazi’ state, an ‘apartheid’ state or any other of the patent nonsense that so many in the far left and Islamists throw out. Palestinian lives are important, which is why thousands of Palestinians are treated in Israeli hospitals every year. But Israeli lives, the lives of Israeli Jews and Arabs both, have equal value. Israel has never threatened or carried out genocide (another meaningless accusation). Today, it stands in the media dock, accused of crimes it has never committed. Hamas is handled with kid gloves. Woe to us if the Scots ever change their minds and launch phase one of their haggis-fuelled invasion.

 

Dr. Denis MacEoin is a former university lecturer in Arabic, Persian and Islamic Studies. He is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Gatestone Institute and a Senior Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

Guardian posts article by conspiracy theorist about ‘secret’ cause of the Gaza war

The headline alone accompanyin a July 9th column by  at the Earth Insight page of the Guardian says it all:

hot air

Ahmed explains:

Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israel’s increasing domestic energy woes.

So, contrary to reports demonstrating that Israel will soon achieve energy independence and is set to become a net exporter of natural gas - and may one day, due to its reserve of oil shale, be able to pump 100,000 barrels of oil a day - Guardian readers are asked to believe that Israel has an energy crisis, one which prompted the current war against Hamas.

Ahmed continues:

Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiativereported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal. 

While information on Research Journalism Initiative is sparse, Turner appears to be a pro-Palestinian activist who was once active with the pro-terror International Solidarity Movement.  (Further, the article by Turner cited in the previous passage was published at Electronic Intifada in 2008.)  

Ahmed continues:

A 2012 letter by two Israeli government chief scientists – which the Israeli government chose not to disclose – warned the government that Israel still had insufficient gas resources to sustain exports despite all the stupendous discoveries. The letter, according to Ha’aretz, stated that Israel’s domestic resources were 50% less than needed to support meaningful exports, and could be depleted in decades:

However, the article he linked to merely cites one opinion suggesting that Israel should reduce the quantity of natural gas it plans to export by 2020, warning that, otherwise, it may exhaust its reserves in four decades or so – reflecting the broader debate over how the government should balance domestic use with exports.

Though Ahmed pivots later in the article to different matters entirely, the other ‘evidence’ he adds to buttress his main theory consists of the following:

For the Israeli government, Hamas continues to be the main obstacle to the finalisation of the gas deal. In the incumbent defence minister’s (Ya’alon) words: “Israel’s experience during the Oslo years indicates Palestinian gas profits would likely end up funding terrorism against Israel. The threat is not limited to Hamas… It is impossible to prevent at least some of the gas proceeds from reaching Palestinian terror groups.”

However, Ahmed is quoting Ya’alon from a 2007 JCPA article, and it’s unclear how his warning 7 years ago are relevant to either Israel’s Tamar Gas Field, located far from the Gaza coast (within Israel’s own economic zone, roughly 80 kilometers west of Haifa), or with the current war against Hamas.

In the final paragraph, Ahmed concedes that the “Israel-Palestine conflict is clearly not all about resources”, but fails of course to hint that the current conflict may, just possibly, have something to do with thousands of rocket attacks launched by an Islamist extremist group committed to the Jewish state’s destruction.

Finally, perhaps we shouldn’t be at all surprised by Ahmed’s bizarre theory on the “root cause” of the current conflict, given his history of such fanciful “troof’ telling.  It appears that the Guardian contributor is somewhat of a 9/11 (and 7/7 bombings) conspiracy theorist.  Here’s the Amazon synopsis of his book, titled ‘The War on Freedom: How and why America was attacked on 9/11‘.

A disturbing expose of the American government’s hidden agenda, before and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. A wide range of documents show US officials knew in advance of the ‘Boeing bombing’ plot, yet did nothing. Did the attacks fit in with plans for a more aggressive US foreign policy? Nafeez Ahmed examines the evidence, direct and circumstantial, and lays it before the public in chilling detail: how FBI agents who uncovered the hijacking plot were muzzled, how CIA agents trained Al Qaeda members in terror tactics, how the Bush family profited from its business connections to the Bin Ladens, and from the Afghan war. A ‘must read’ for anyone seeking to understand America’s New War on Terror.

And, as we’ve demonstrated repeatedly, the Guardian is clearly a ‘must read’ for anyone curious about the hard left’s continuing descent into the intellectual abyss of ‘radical’, anti-Zionist, conspiracy-minded agitprop. 

UK journo uses subjective word ‘terrorist’ for Jews, but not for Hamas

The Independent doesn’t appear to have a permanent Israel correspondent in the region anymore, but often employs the services of a freelance journalist named Ben Lynfield, who took it upon himself to pen an op-ed at the paper on July 8th (Conflict – a weapon for Hamas in its fight for survival).

Whilst the op-ed itself – which attempts to explain the cause of the current war between Israel and Hamas – is largely unproblematic, his piece included one telling omission, an obfuscation, and an inconsistent use of the word “terrorist”.

terrorist

Here’s the omission and obfuscation:

Lynfield:

Today’s devastating Israeli strikes on Gaza and Palestinian rocket fire at Israel have their roots as a spin-off from Israeli-Palestinian confrontation in the West Bank, where Israel responded to the kidnapping of three teenagers, which it blamed on Hamas (without proof) with a military operation in which Hamas’s West Bank civilian infrastructure was targeted and hundreds of its members arrested. Six Palestinians were killed.

Though Israel didn’t release proof of Hamas’s involvement in the abduction to the media, US security officials who were given the evidence (since one of the Israeli teens had American citizenship) confirmed that there is “strong evidence that Hamas is culpable”. 

Additionally, it’s quite interesting that Lynfield failed to note that the teens were murdered, and not merely kidnapped. 

Now, for the selective use of a ‘loaded’ term:

As we’ve noted, UK news sites like the Indy almost never use the term “terrorist” when characterizing Hamas or other Palestinian groups who murder Israelis ‘in the pursuit of political aims’ – opting instead for the ‘less judgmental’ word “militant”.   And, in fact, nowhere in his op-ed does Lynfield use the word “terrorist” (or, interestingly, even “militant”) to describe ‘Hamas’, even though the Islamist group is considered a “terrorist” group by most of the West. 

However, he did make the decision to use the term in another context.

Lynfield:

Another motive [for Hamas] is that it wants to appear as defender of the Palestinian people against Israeli actions, including the murder of a teenager by terrorists in Jerusalem.

While nobody denies that the Jews who murdered Mohammed Abu Khdeir are cold-blooded terrorists, it’s interesting that Lynfield reserved that term only for Jewish killers, and not for a group which openly targets civilians for mass murder –  part of a disturbing ideological proclivity (within the UK opinion elite) to impute moral equivalence between a progressive Jewish democracy and reactionary Islamist extremists.

When anti-Semites at the Guardian fall out

A guest post by AKUS

One of the more ignorant claims advanced by the anti-Israeli crowd commenting at the Guardian, both above and below the line, is that the smaller number of Israeli casualties compared to Palestinian casualties represents Israeli belief that Palestinian lives are worth less – much less – than Arab lives.

The specious argument is used to complain that there is a lack of morality on the Israeli side, rather than admitting that Israel takes enormous care to protect its citizens of all religions and groups from terrorist and other armed attacks.

It is usually accompanied by two additional themes. One is the complaint that  “no-one ever mentions Palestinian casualties” when in fact there is no other group whose casualties are so carefully documented and republished over and over in media and by NGOs. The other is the accusation that despite the enormous increase in the Arab population since 1967, the lower number of Israeli casualties represents a policy of genocide directed at the Arabs on the West Bank and in Gaza.

To put it in a different context, would anyone argue that the lower losses of British lives in WW II compared to German lives (leaving aside the horrendous losses suffered by the Russians and the massacres of others across Europe and North Africa inflicted by the Germans) represented a loss of moral stature by the British? Should more British soldiers and civilians have died to even the balance and allowed us to feel that indeed the British respected human life as much as the Nazis?

We were treated to another of Steve Bell’s anti-Semitic cartoons this week, intended to illustrate this theme. The three murdered Israeli boys are shown, in the eyes of – well, who? The world? – to outweigh uncountable Palestinians killed in the conflict:

`1

As bad as this cartoon is, for all the reasons above, especially appearing in the Guardian which makes it its mission to emphasize every Palestinian death, it led to a complaint by Martin Rowson.  Rowson suggested that Bell had, in effect, plagiarized his “trope” from this even worse cartoon:

cartoon

As appalling as both cartoons are, there is a certain enjoyment to be had from seeing this falling out among two leading purveyors of antisemitic tropes.

What is horrifying, of course, is the support these two vicious characters get from their dedicated followers. This includes  the Guardian editorial staff, who allows them to post such agitprop, and their followers below the line – for example, here’s a comment below Steve Bell’s latest:

for example

And there we have it – the imbalance between Israeli deaths and Palestinian deaths is due to Israel’s presumably genocidal policies which are gradually wiping out the occupants of Gaza and the West Bank – even though their numbers, mysteriously, continue to grow at one of the highest rates in the world.

Or even the slightly more “sophisticated” argument that this represents a way for Israel to prevent reaching a peace agreement:

agreement

By continuing to publish these kinds of cartoons, and permitting these kinds of comment to stand, it is, in fact, the Guardian that does a monumental disservice to any idea of reaching a peace agreement, or, if they really want to, helping the Palestinians achieve their statehood.

But in the meantime, if nothing else, let’s hope the anti-Semites at the Guardian will continue to complain about each other.

CiF Watch prompts improved Indy headline in story of murdered Palestinian

Earlier, we came across an Indy headline in a report about the Palestinian riots taking place in east Jerusalem over the death of a Palestinian teen who many believe may have been the victim of a revenge attack. (Note, Elder of Ziyon and Harry’s Place also posted on this earlier.)

israel

We then emailed Indy editors to ask about the strange wording.  Specifically, we asked if the first three words (Israel murdered teenagers) indicate the topic of the article, as in “regarding the murdered Israeli teenagers…”, or, rather, if it was supposed to support the theory that the Palestinian teen in question – 16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir – was in fact murdered by an Israeli in a nationalist attack.

An Indy editor replied and told us that it was meant to convey the former, and wasn’t intended to suggest that the Palestinian was definitely killed in a revenge attack by an Israeli. 

Then, Elder noted that that they tweaked the headline to this, merely changing “Israel” to “Israeli”, and making it equally unclear.

israeli

More recently, they changed it again, to something more understandable. 

new change

Whilst UK media coverage of the Palestinian teen’s death has thus far been extremely one-sided in embracing the yet unproven theory that he was murdered in revenge, we’re at least glad that the Indy headline in question no longer suggests that this is a proven fact. 

Update: Harry’s Place also contacted Indy editors over the original headline.

Two Guardian cartoonists agree: Jewish life is overvalued by the media

Guardian cartoonists Steve Bell and Martin Rowson had nothing artistically to say during the 18 days in which the fate of the three kidnapped Israeli teens was unknown, and nothing to say since their bullet-ridden bodies were found near Hebron, victims of a savage attack in which the terrorists sang and cheered after shooting the Jews to death. 

However, a day after the funeral for Eyal, Naftali and Gilad, Steve Bell – who, in past cartoons has mocked those who complain that his cartoons advance antisemitic tropes, and has indeed demonstrated his ‘courage’ to speak truth to Jewish power – suddenly found his creative muse in what he evidently fears is the lack of symmetry between the value placed on Jewish and Palestinian lives:

Here’s the Bell cartoon published in the Guardian on July 2.

bell

Of course, Bell’s cartoon – which curiously depicts ‘hilltop settlements’ in the background – is attempting to impute a moral equivalence between the cold-blooded murder by Hamas terrorists of three innocent boys and the deaths of Palestinian combatants in the West Bank during IDF operations to rescue the teens, and complaining on the unequal attention paid to both sets of victims.  Jewish life, it seems, has become too valuable in the eyes of the international community.

Following Bell’s cartoon, we came across a Tweet by their other cartoonist, Martin Rowson, who previously has demonstrated that he won’t be silenced despite the ‘fact’ that Jews often attempt to silence their critics with false accusations of antisemitism.  Rowson, like Bell, fancies himself a truth teller who refuses to bow down to the pressure of a small but powerful minority.

Here’s the Tweet by Rowson on July 2, commenting on his colleague’s artistic efforts and comparing it with his own cartoon published by the Guardian on January 7, 2009 – during the war in Gaza (Operation Cast Lead). 

rowson

Here’s a side by side comparison:

side by side

The interesting thing about the consistency between the two cartoonists in depicting the loss of Jewish and Palestinian life is how their visual agitprop comports with the broader Guardian narrative of the conflict.  

The Guardian sees its mission as, to quote Rowson, ‘afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted’; The Palestinians, so says the Guardian, are the weaker (“afflicted”) party in the conflict, while Israeli Jews represent the comfortable; Therefore, when contextualizing the loss of life on both sides, it is the duty of ‘progressive’ political cartoonists to advocate for the weaker Palestinians.

Of course, it would have been news to Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Frankel and Gilad Shaar that they represented the ‘comfortable’ and their kidnappers were the ‘afflicted’ as multiple shots were fired at them at point-blank range, penetrating their bodies and ending their young lives.  

CiF Watch prompts 2nd Guardian correction to claim the murdered teens were ‘settlers’

A July 2nd article by Haroon Siddique, Matthew Weaver and Peter Beaumont (Palestinian demonstrators clash with police over suspected revenge attackopened with the following passage:

settlers

However, as a previous CiF Watch-prompted Guardian correction (to a July 13th article by Peter Beaumont) indicated, Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frankel were NOT all “settlers”.

Shortly after complaining to Guardian editors (within the past hour) over this latest error, they corrected the passage.

It now reads:
corrected
The following addendum was also added:
addendum

We commend Guardian editors on their speedy correction.

(Note: CiF Watch also prompted a correction to a June 15th article at the Independent over the same false claim.)

Huffington Post UK Corrects: No ‘West Bank’ Airstrikes by IDF

Cross posted from CAMERA

CAMERA’s Israel office has prompted a Huffington Post UK correction of a headline which had incorrectly referred to airstrikes in the West Bank. In fact, while the Gaza Strip has been subjected to airstrikes following a barrage of rocket attacks from that territory into southern Israel, there have been no West Bank airstrikes.
 
Editors also promptly corrected the accompanying July 1 article by Paul Vale, which had falsely asserted that the airstrikes were in response to the murders of the three Israeli teens, Gil-Ad Shaar, Naftali Frankel and Eyal Yifrach. In fact, the airstrikes on 24 targets in the Gaza Strip were in response to the aforementioned 18 rocket attacks on Israel.
 
A screen capture of the erroneous headline and article, first noted earlier today on CAMERA’s Snapshots blog, follows:
huffpost airstrikes

CAMERA staff contacted Huffington Post editors, noting that the airstrikes in the Gaza Strip were a response to the rocket fire coming from there, not to the murder of the three teens. The Huffington Post article is itself hyperlinked to an Associated Press story, also on the Huffington Post UK site, which notes that the Israeli military said it was rocket fire from the Gaza Strip which led to the airstrikes there:

Early Tuesday, Israel carried out an especially intense series of airstrikes in Gaza, saying it had struck 34 targets across the Hamas-controlled territory. The military said the airstrikes were a response to a barrage of 18 rockets fired into Israel since late Sunday.

As a result, editors immediately corrected both the headline and text, which now appear as follows:
huffpost airstrikes corrected
CAMERA commends Huffington Post UK for its timely and forthright corrections.

Economist is latest media outlet to falsely claim the 3 kidnapped teens are ‘settlers’

An article in the print edition of the Economist on June 21 titled ‘Stirring Bad Blood‘ included false claims in the opening and final sentences.

Here’s the first sentence of the anonymous report:

THE abduction of three young Jewish settlers on June 12th near the city of Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, has stirred Israeli emotions as viscerally as the kidnapping of a young Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, by militants of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement, eight years ago. 

However, as we noted in a post on June 16th (and noted elsewhere), two of the three teens are not settlers, a fact which, when pointed out to Guardian editors, resulted in a correction to their own false claim about the location of the Israeli teens’ homes. (The Indy, at our prompting, also corrected their false claim that all three teens were settlers.)

Additionally, the Economist article includes this claim in the final sentence:

A Facebook page posted by an Israeli calling for the execution of one Palestinian prisoner every hour until the young hostages were freed quickly attracted 17,000 likes.

However, as an accurate translation of the Hebrew on the Facebook page clearly indicates, the words “Palestinian” or “prisoner” are not present – a fact which prompted Guardian editors to improve their original faulty translation of the page in an article by Orlando Crowcroft on June 17th.

Here’s the correct translation of the Facebook page:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

We’ve been in touch with Economist editors over these errors and will update you when we receive a response.

Lost in in Translation? Guardian omits key word in Israeli Facebook page (Updated)

CAMERA consistently demonstrates (with their ‘Lost in Translation‘ series) that news reports which include an erroneous translation can completely alter the meaning or political context of the events being described. And, a recent Guardian story, which notes a marginal Israeli Facebook page provides a good example of such misreporting. 

The report by Orlando Crowcroft (‘Israeli leader meets families of missing teenagers as search continues, June 17th) notes the social media battles being waged by Israeli and Palestinian activists over the terrorist kidnapping of three Israeli teens last Thursday:

The battle is not only being waged by the IDF inside the West Bank, but on social media, where an outpouring of rival hashtags, comments and campaigns have revealed how strongly the incident has resonated with Israelis and Palestinians.

The hashtag #BringBackOurBoys has featured in thousands of tweets from both Israel and abroad since news of the disappearance of Yifrach, Frankel and Shaar broke on Friday, referencing the global Twitter campaign calling for the release of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria by rebel group Boko Haram earlier this year.

Crowcroft then pivots to the ‘less benign’ social media campaigns:

Not all the online responses to the incident have been benign. A Facebook page calling for Israel to kill one Palestinian an hour until the three teenagers are returned has received more than 18,000 “likes” since it was set up on 13 June.

fb

However, as other media reports have indicated (and as a quick Google translate of the Facebook page would similarly demonstrate), the name of the page accurately translates to:

‘Until the teens are returned, every hour we shoot a terrorist.

Crowcroft omitted the word “terrorist” and added the word “Palestinian”. 

Remarkably, even Electronic Intifada got the translation correct in their story on the Facebook page.

To be clear, even the correct name renders the Facebook campaign morally offensive.  However, news consumers have the right to expect stories at putatively serious news sites which translate a foreign language into English not be compromised by such highly misleading and completely avoidable errors.

UPDATE: Following our complaint, the Guardian corrected the mistranslation.

UK media coverage of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens – a CiF Watch review

On June 15th, we posted about a Guardian report co-authored by Peter Beaumont which included a gratuitous (and erroneous) characterization to the three Israeli teens abducted by Palestinian terrorists on Thursday night as “teenage settlers”.  (As we noted in a subsequent post, the Guardian amended the article following our complaint.)

Today, we’re reviewing the coverage of the abduction by the Guardian and other major UK news sites (The Telegraph, Independent, Times of London, and Financial Times), to determine if other reports include tendentious, biased reporting or misleading claims.

The Guardian:

The first report on the incident was written by Peter Beaumont and Paul Lewis on Friday, June 13, was titled ‘Israelis launch search around Hebron after three teenage settlers go missing‘, and (as we noted) falsely claimed, in the headline and subsequent text, that the abducted teens were all “settlers”.

The second report by Beaumont was published in the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) on June 14th, was titled Fears grow for missing Israeli teenagers and also included the false claim that the three were ‘settlers’. (The Guardian has not thus far revised this passage.)

A third report, Guardian/Associated Press, was published on June 14th and titled ‘Israeli raids target Hamas members as Netanyahu accuses group of kidnapping. Unlike the previous two reports, it didn’t characterize the teens as settlers, and included no other misleading claims.

A fourth report was published by Beaumont on June 15th titled ‘Israeli forces tighten grip on West Bank in search for three abducted teenagers‘. This report also didn’t falsely characterize the teens as settlers, and included nothing similarly problematic.

A fifth report was published by Beaumont (and Agencies) on June 15th titled ‘Israel detains scores in West Bank as fears grow for missing teenagers‘, and included nothing problematic. However, they used the following still shot – a deceptive photo illustrating the IDF’s search for the abducted teens, in an angle in which the soldier’s rifle appears to be pointing directly at Palestinian civilians – accompanying a brief video.

photo

A sixth report was filed by Beaumont (and Agencies) on June 16th titled ‘Palestinian parliamentary speaker arrested in search for kidnapped teens‘.  And, a seventh report by Beaumont was published on the same day titled Israel considering expelling Hamas leaders from West Bank to Gaza‘.  Neither of these articles included any especially problematic material.

The Independent

The first Indy report on the abduction was written by Ben Lynfield on June 15th, was titled ‘Israel lays blame for abduction of teenagers on Fatah-Hamas pact‘, and was largely fair, but did include the same highly inappropriate photo that the Guardian used.

photo

A second report (as we noted in our previous post on June 15th) in the Indy, written by Jack Simpson, was titled ‘Netanyahu accuses Hamas of kidnapping Israel’s three missing boys‘ and included the false suggestion that all three teens lived in settlements.  (Indy editors corrected the relevant passage shortly after our complaint.)  A third report in the Indy, by Lizzie Dearden, on June 16th, titled ‘Facebook campaign calls on Israelis to kill a Palestinian ‘terrorist’ every hour until missing teenagers found‘, focused on a marginal Israeli Facebook group while of course ignoring reports that the official Facebook page of Fatah openly celebrated the terrorist kidnapping. 

A fourth report in the Indy, by Ben Lynfield, on June 17th, titled ‘Israeli search for kidnapped youths turns into push against Hamas‘, actually included a photo of the three teens, and – as we note below in our summary – also stood out by reporting on the “60 attempts to carry out abductions  in the past 12 months” by Palestinian terrorists.  (As we note in our summary, such vital context was also non-existent in the UK media’s reporting on the incident.)

Times of London

A Times report by David Rankin on June 14th, titled ‘Search continues for three teens feared kidnapped in Israeland a second report by Tony Bonnici on June 15th, titled ‘Israel PM says teenagers ‘kidnapped by terror group‘, are both unproblematic.  A June 16th report at the Times by Joshua Mitnick titled ‘Hamas leaders held in Israeli hunt for kidnapped teenagers‘ was unusual in respect to the fact that Mitnick quoted the parents of Eyal Yifrach, one of the kidnapped boys, who addressed the media on Monday with ‘an emotional address to their son’. (As we note in our summary, the UK media mostly ignored the families of the kidnapped teens.)

The Telegraph

The Telegraph published a report on June 15th by their Jerusalem correspondent Robert Tait titled Hamas to blame for youths’ “kidnapping”, Benjamin Netanyahu says, and was unproblematic, save a curious use of quotes around the word “kidnapping” in the headline. (Note: even the Guardian refers to the incident as a kidnapping, without the use of quotes.)  And, on the same day, the Telegraph published a story (attributed partially to Reuters) titled ‘Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims Hamas militants behind teenagers’ abduction‘ which included a video of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s press conference that day.

The third article (Reuters) published at the Telegraph on June 16th, titled ‘Hamas kidnapping: Israel expands West Bank hunt for Palestinian teenagers as Palestinian killed‘, is illustrated with an unrelated and highly inappropriate photo depicting the aftermath of an Israeli strike in Gaza. Additionally, the caption failed to explain that the IDF strike came in response to the firing of Grad rockets at Ashkelon the previous day.  

telegrpah photo

However, almost as if to make up for the misleading and inappropriate Gaza photo, the story also included a photo of the abducted teens to illustrate the story.

addendumLater the same day, the Telegraph published their fourth report, by Robert Tait, titled ‘The bus stop that voices Israel’s anguish over missing teenagers‘, which, for the second time in their coverage of the kidnapping to date, used a photo which evokes sympathy for the missing teens.

bus

The report explained:

At first sight, it appears to be just an isolated, lonely bus shelter.

But the yellow ribbons and defiant messages bedecking it eloquently attested to how it has become a symbol of Israel’s anguish over three missing teenagers.

“We will bring you back” and “The people of Israel are alive” read Hebrew messages on large posters beside smaller leaflets bearing the English inscription “# bring our boys homes”

The report also included a photo of the three teens.

Financial Times

On June 15th the Financial Times published a report by John Reed, titled ‘Netanyahu accuses Hamas over kidnapping of Israeli teenagers‘, which opened with this curious passage:

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, on Sunday blamed the Palestinian militant group Hamas for the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers, raising the stakes in a missing-person case that has transfixed the country and its leaders.

Though Reed’s obfuscatory language isn’t quite as egregious as the New York Times recent conflation of cause and effect, as revealed by CAMERA’s Tamar Sternthal, it is still troubling that the passage nonetheless suggests that the prime minister ‘raised the stakes’ in the kidnapping (what’s characterized as a “missing person case”) when he blamed Hamas for the abduction.  

Reed also makes a gratuitous reference to “radical Jewish settlers” in Hebron, who he claims represent the cause of “tensions between Israelis and Palestinians”, without noting the extremely destabilizing presence of a large number of Hamas terrorists in the city.

Summary:

  • The Guardian has published the greatest number of stories on the kidnapping to date, filing seven out of the nineteen total reports covered in this review.
  • With the exception of two reports in the Telegraph, and one in the Independent, every photo used to illustrate the teens’ abduction by terrorists focused on the Israeli military response to the incident, rather than on the boys, their families or reactions by the Israeli public.  In contrast, as we’ve noted in previous posts, the UK media almost uniformly focused on the families of Palestinian terrorists released over the past year by Israeli authorities, rather than on the families of the Israeli victims.
  • With the exception of Robert Tait’s story on June 16th and a report the same day by Peter Beaumont in the Guardian, no other UK media outlet quoted a family member of one of the teenage victims.  Alternately, several reports quoted Palestinians in the West Bank condemning the IDF’s military response to the terrorist abduction.
  • Only one report, in the Indy, provided context on the high number of thwarted kidnapping attempts by Palestinian terror groups over the last year.  However, the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont did cite three specific examples of previous kidnappings – one in 2001, one in 2011 and another in 2013. 
fatah-e1402847026600-635x357

This caricature depicting three rats caught on a fishing line was posted on the official Facebook page of Fatah (Mahmoud Abbas’s party) shortly after the kidnapping was reported