CiF Watch prompts revision to Economist claim about MK Zoabi’s suspension

Earlier in the month we posted about a curious omission in an Economist article titled ‘Us and Them‘, Aug. 2.  

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Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi

To buttress their broader theme on the putative ‘erosion of Israel’s democracy’, the characteristically anonymous article made the following claim about Israeli MK Haneen Zoabi:

This week the Knesset banned an Arab member, Haneen Zoabi, for six months for “aggressive behaviour” in anti-war demonstrations.

However, as we noted at the time, this is an inaccurate statement as it omits key information about the suspension.

MK Zoabi was suspended for six months from the Knesset (while still maintaining her voting rights in the Israeli legislative body) for two reasons – one of which the Economist completely omitted. 

While Zoabi’s suspension was in part due to an incident with a police officer at a protest rally (as they noted), the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Israeli teens (Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah, and Gilad Shaar) were NOT terrorists – a comment she evidently didn’t amend, even after the boys’ bullet ridden bodies were discovered partially buried near Hebron on June 30.

Shimon Peres

We complained to Economist editors, and, in addition to slightly revising the text to note that Zoabi’s behavior at the protest was only one of the reasons for her suspension, they added the following addendum.

corexThough the text still doesn’t include the main reason for Zoabi’s suspension, editors’ acknowledgement that the original language was misleading is of course welcomed. 

Did Hamas and Sky News cynically exploit a paralyzed Palestinian girl?

Cross posted from Barry’s Shaw’s blog, The View from Israel

The foreign media in Gaza have been accused of biased reporting, often bordering on the cynical and, sometimes, even cowardly.

Faced with the fear of what might happen to them, many abandoned any presence of journalistic ethics and simply regurgitated whatever Hamas gave them, or whatever they saw from their restricted vision, often ignoring, of course, the rocket fire coming from outside their hotel windows .

However, what’s infinitely worse is a media outlet like Sky News which, from the safe distance of their London studio, still puts out emotional Hamas propaganda while taking gratuitous swipes at Israel.

This occurred on August 10the when they repeatedly broadcast a segment on a seven-year old Palestinian girl who reportedly had been paralyzed in an Israeli air strike.

The girl is heard saying “We were sitting at home when we heard a noise. So we went down the stairs.”  What noise was this? Could it have been the “Knock on the roof” pre-strike warning that this house had been cited as a terror target by the IDF intelligence? What’s this girl’s family name? Is it among the names of leading Hamas terrorists? This was partially confirmed by the girl known as Mata when she said “Me and my mother were injured, and we knew if we stayed like this we would die. But my mother stayed at home and she died.” Did her mother knowingly act as a human shield (or sacrifice) for Hamas?  We don’t know. The reporter didn’t ask or investigate this.

The report stressed that there are only three hospitals worldwide capable of treating anyone in her condition, a claim which seemed quite dubious, as there are numerous Israeli hospitals of international reputation that regularly treat Palestinians with such injuries.

The Sky News report suggested that Matya was being prevented from leaving Gaza by Israel. 

But, this is simply not true! 

COGAT top representative, Guy Inbar, told me that a request from Gaza had been made and accepted by COGAT on the same day, July 26, and that final details had been requested by COGAT to prepare her exit.

Nothing more was heard from the other side.

It certainly appears that Hamas has cynically played a propaganda game for weeks over this little girl. They invited members of the press into Shifa Hospital to hear her story, rather than expedite her release for treatment.

There is an excellent fully staffed field hospital set up by the IDF on the Gaza border ready to received patients from Gaza. Only problem is that Hamas physically threatens and prevents people from getting to this facility. This also was not mentioned by Sky.

The IDF Spokesman, Peter Lerner, tweeted Sky News offering to give them information but he apparently failed to get a response. Neither did I when I emailed Sky News a list of questions on this incident and their coverage.

It is still far from certain that a Sky reporter ever met or spoke to the girl. Were they there at the Gaza hospital, did they question, did they ask for Israeli response, or did they simply put out the story as presented to them by Hamas?

My sources in the IDF and with COGAT were never contacted by Sky News concerning this incident.

COGAT was, however, later contacted by Palestinian health officials and they are coordinating with them (and also with the World Health Organization) to have the girl removed from Gaza as soon as a new request is received together with all the relevant documents and information.  She will be removed first to Jerusalem and then on to a hospital where she can receive the best of care.

Moreover, COGAT has facilitated every request received by people needing to leave Gaza for serious medical cases, one hundred and fifty in number, throughout this current Gaza conflict.

As for Sky News, I have yet to receive a response to my numerous complaints. 

 

Barry Shaw is the Special Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to the Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College.  He is also the author of ‘ISRAEL RECLAIMING THE NARRATIVE.’ 

Economist curiously omits key reason for MK Zoabi’s Knesset suspension

Claims regarding the putative ‘erosion of Israel’s democracy‘ have long been a favorite among the anti-Israel UK media elite, and the mere absence of any evidence attesting to this descent into political darkness hasn’t weakened their appetite for this narrative.

To boot, an Economist article titled ‘Us and Them‘, Aug. 2, included a few factually-challenged claims on alleged attacks on the civil rights of Israel’s minorities. 

Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has warned the country’s civil-rights groups that they could be branded as delegitimisers if they insist on promoting rights for Israel’s Arab minority and oppose the definition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. 

First, addressing the first part of the passage, the Knesset did not warn the country’s civil-rights groups that they could be branded as delegitimisers for merely “promoting rights for Israel’s Arab minority”. In fact it’s hard to know where precisely where the Economist even found such an absurd claim.  Further, the second part of the passage, regarding the alleged consequences for ‘opposing the definition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews’, again is not accurate.

They may be alluding to a proposed change in the Basic Law that would formally recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jews’, but the rights of non-Jews would not be affected, and there’s certainly nothing in the proposal which would, as the Economist claims, brand civil rights groups as ‘delegitimizers for doing so.

The Economist then adds the following:

This week the Knesset banned an Arab member, Haneen Zoabi, for six months for “aggressive behaviour” in anti-war demonstrations.

However, this also is an inaccurate statement as it omits key information about the suspension.

MK Zoabi, according to multiple news reports (and the official press release from the Knesset regarding the suspension), was suspended for six months from the Knesset (while still maintaining her voting rights in the Israeli legislative body) for two reasons – one of which the Economist completely omitted. 

While Zoabi’s suspension was in part due to an incident with a police officer at a protest rally (as they noted), the main reason was related to her assertion, in mid June, that the kidnappers of three Jewish teens in the West Bank were not terrorists. 

“They’re people who don’t see any way to change their reality and they are forced to use these means until Israel will wake up a little, until Israeli citizens and society will wake up and feel the suffering of the other,” Zoabi said in an interview on Radio Tel Aviv, adding that the kidnappers live under occupation.

Of course, two weeks after Zoabi’s statements, the teens – Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach – were found dead, having been murdered by the kidnappers she had earlier defended. 

The Knesset statement on the suspension noted that Zoabi’s offense centered on these comments, which many believed represented incitement, as it showed support for terrorist organizations and encouraged “acts of terror against the state and its citizens”.

To recap: both examples cited by the Economist – presumably to demonstrate an erosion of civil rights in Israel for its non-Jewish minority – are erroneous or, at best, extremely misleading. 

Finally, it’s interesting to note that a site called The Angry Arab News Service cited the Economist’s claim about the cause of Zoabi’s suspension under the heading: This Does Not Get Reported In The US Media.

Of course, it’s likely that such “news” hasn’t been reported in the US media because, as few Google clicks would have indicated, it’s not accurate.

CiF Watch prompts 3rd correction over false claims that murdered Israeli teens were ‘settlers’

Since Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel were abducted and murdered by Palestinian terrorists last month, we’ve prompted two corrections to false claims (at the Independent and the Guardian) that the three teens were ‘settlers’. 

More recently, we contacted Indy editors about the following passage in an op-ed at the paper by the British-Israeli anti-Zionist historian (and Guardian contributor) Avi Shlaim.

Here’s the original:

He [Netanyahu] used the abduction of three young Jewish settlers on the West Bank as an excuse for a violent crackdown on Hamas supporters…

Recently, Indy editors once again agreed to correct the erroneous characterization of the three murdered boys, and the passage now reads:

He used the abduction of three Jewish teenagers on the West Bank as an excuse for a violent crackdown on Hamas supporters

We commend Indy editors for correcting Shlaim’s false claim. 

Official Guardian editorial blames Gaza war on….Ariel Sharon!

There’s apparently no limit to the capacity of Guardian editors to infantizile Palestinians, as an official editorial, July 25th, on the “causes of the fighting in Gaza” demonstrate.

sharon

Let’s jump to their main argument:

The chain of causation, as with so much else in Israel, leads back to Ariel Sharon

The Guardian explains:

He conceived of withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 as above all a tactic which would allow him to postpone wider negotiations on the future of the West Bank and weaken the Palestine Liberation Organisation. He would garner some peace laurels while inducing the Americans to give commitments on what Israel could keep when and if West Bank negotiations began again. It was a skillful and even a brave piece of political maneuvering both domestically and internationally; but it was also a cynical and ultimately a counter-productive one.

Israeli divide and rule policies had already had the effect of strengthening the PLO’s more militant rivals. Before disengagement, Israeli security forces attempted to decapitate the extremist leadership. Hamas might even so have opted for co-existence, but it did not. It went on to win the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, and then the Hamas coup of 2007 set the stage for the periodic confrontations of which this month’s fighting is the latest, but not necessarily the last.

It will only be the last if it is grasped that the way Israel left Gaza institutionalised violent conflict rather than made it less likely. Those Israelis who portray the disengagement as an act of generosity for which they have received no credit misunderstand what happened. Unilateral disengagement in Gaza weakened Palestinian moderates, enabled successive Israeli governments to drag their feet in peace negotiations and is even now being used by prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who opposed it at the time, to lay down Israeli security requirements for any future disengagement from the West Bank which would make a peace settlement almost impossible to achieve

So, Ariel Sharon, and not Palestinians, was the party responsible for electing, in 2006, an antisemitic extremist terror group  which rejected Israel’s right to exist within any borders, to run their affairs.

And, evidently, Ariel Sharon, and not Hamas, was the party responsible for subsequently firing thousands of rockets at Israeli towns, abducting Israeli soldiers and engaging in other acts of terror.

Further, apparently it was Ariel Sharon’s fault that the leaders of Hamas diverted billions of dollars in aid money to construct a labyrinth of terror tunnels in the hopes of launching even more deadly cross border attacks on Israeli civilians.

Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza was, you see, was apparently just a sinister, furtive plan by Ariel Sharon to further subjugate Palestinians and – in the Guardian’s words – “institutionalize” Palestinian violence.

We’ve often argued that the Guardian’s denial of Palestinian moral agency – the liberal racism of no expectations – informs much of their coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, and this editorial is, in many respects, exhibit A.

(Editor’s note: The strap line for the Guardian editorial, “The roots of the violence go back to the Israeli withdrawal in 2005″, was cropped out of the graphic above to allow readers to see how they reached their conclusion further in the text.)

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.