Guardian text & image almost suggest Israeli culpability in Egypt bus bombing

Take a look at the following headline, strap line and photo in a Feb. 18 Guardian story:

headline failThe title, image and caption would leave many readers with the false impression that ‘Israeli agents’ may have played a role in the recent terror attack on a civilian bus in the Egyptian Sinai that killed four tourists.  In fact, you’d have to read pretty far into the report to determine that this isn’t of course the case.

Here are the first six paragraphs:

Egypt’s public prosecutor has charged two men said to be Israeli intelligence agents and two Egyptians with conspiring in Israel’s interests, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

“The public prosecutor ordered Ramzy Mohamed, Sahar Ibrahim, Samuel Ben Zeev and David Wisemen – two officers in the Israeli Mossad – to be sent to a Cairo criminal court for spying for the interests of the state of Israel,” the statement read.

The two Egyptians are already in jail pending investigation, the statement said. The public prosecutor ordered the arrest of the two Israeli officers. It was not clear from the statement if the Israelis were in Egypt. There was no immediate reaction from Israel.

The Egyptians are accused of providing information about Egypt to the Israeli officers with “the intent of damaging national interests in exchange for money and gifts and sex”.

The statement accuses Mohamed of sleeping with women who work in Israeli intelligence. He is also accused of recruiting the accused woman, Ibrahim, to work for Israeli intelligence.

The statement said the two Egyptians had admitted during investigations that they had spied for Israel.

Here are the subsequent paragraphs:

Earlier on Tuesday, a militant group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on a Egyptian bus that killed three South Korean tourists and an Egyptian driver close to the border crossing into Israel in the volatile Sinai desert.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, Arabic for Champions of Jerusalem, said in a statement posted on militant websites late on Monday that one of its “heroes” carried out Sunday’s bombing in Taba as part of an “economic war” against the army-backed government.

Egyptian officials have called it a suicide attack, but the Ansar statement did not use any language that would suggest the perpetrator was dead.

The al-Qaida-inspired group has claimed responsibility for previous attacks, but has previously targeted primarily police and the military.

The authenticity of the statement could not be verified but it was posted on al-Qaida-affiliated websites.

As you can see, following the headline and image – which evoke the recent terror attack in the Sinai – we immediately learn that Israeli Mossad agents were arrested by Egyptian authorities.  Then, with no transitional text, we learn that “earlier in the [same] day”, there was an attack near the Israeli border.

So, we’re left with two completely different stories which almost seem connected based on the report.  

As you can see by opening these links to other news sites (including in the Arabic media), the Guardian seems to be the only major news site conflating the two events, and juxtaposing a photo the burned bus with the arrest of Israeli ‘agents’.  Indeed, if you want to get an idea of how egregiously misleading the Guardian headline and photo truly is, even the anti-Zionist conspiracy-minded ‘journalists’ at Iranian PressTV showed greater restraint in their report on the story:

mossad

Though the Guardian report is attributed to news “Agencies”, someone at the paper had to review and approve the headline, photo and text – an editor who clearly failed to abide by basic journalistic standards requiring that the media “take care not to publish “misleading or distorted information”.

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Irish Times op-ed: ‘Zionist ultras’ see antisemitism everywhere

We’ve recently been commenting on op-eds by Irish Times columnist Eamonn McCann, the socialist (and former Trotskyite) who regales readers with anti-Zionist rhetoric so vitriolic that it could have originated from Soviet Department for Agitation and Propaganda.  

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Eamonn McCann, Marxism Conference 2013

In one memorable column, McCann prophesied on the inevitable demise of the Jewish State – the natural result, he suggested, of the corrosive effects of its official racist ideology.

His latest ‘meditation‘ on Israeli villainy appeared in the Irish Times on Feb 6, and included the following headline:

headline

Here’s the simply risible – and, of course, fact-free – opening passage:

We are all anti-Semites now, including US secretary of state John Kerry. That’s according to a clutch of ministers in Binyamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, plus a mixum-gatherum of colonial settlers, super-Zionists and most US senators.

What evidence does he produce to back up his claim that a “clutch of ministers in Netanyahu’s cabinet” and “most US senators” believe ‘everyone’ is antisemitic?

Well, here are some passages which evidently represent supporting text for his hysterical opening passage:

Influential Israeli politicians have come within an inch of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite. What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

So, McCann is now only claiming that the cabal of super Zionists came close (“within an inch”) of smearing Kerry as an anti-Semite.

McCann continues:

In response, Israeli industry minister Naftali Bennett declared: “We expect of our friends to stand by our side against the attempts to impose an anti-Semitic boycott on Israel, not to be their mouthpiece.” What he’d said to earn this censure was: “The risks are very high for Israel. People are talking about boycott . . . Do they want a failure [in parallel negotiations on Palestine] that then begs whatever may come in the form of a response from disappointed Palestinians and the Arab community?”

Again, even by McCann’s account, Bennett didn’t accuse Kerry of engaging in antisemitism, only that boycotts were antisemitic, and that Kerry didn’t stand by Israel’s side in the fight against such boycotts.

He continues:

Senior official of the colonial settlers’ council Adi Mintz accused Kerry of “an anti-Semitic initiative. The anti-Semites have always resorted to a very simple method – hit the Jews in their pockets.”

Netanyahu refused to condemn Bennett, Mintz and others who had spoken along the same lines, but was himself rather more circumspect, telling his cabinet that promotion of a boycott was “immoral and unjust”.

While Mintz did suggest that Kerry’s comments about boycotts were antisemitic, the most McCann could muster against Netanyahu was to accuse him of not directly condemning Bennett, who, per the quote above, did not in fact accuse Kerry of antisemitism.

And, what about the US senators’ alleged belief that ‘everyone’ opposing Israel is antisemitic?

Well, McCann’s introduction of US senators into the tale begins when he strangely pivots away from Israeli reactions to Kerry’s comments about boycotts and addresses another unrelated topic, the response in the Senate to recent negotiations between Iran and the P5+1:

The statement quoted here most clearly reflective of stereotypical anti-Semitism was Mintz’s. However, it’s the viewpoint of the Zionist ultras which has been adopted by a majority of US senators. Forty-three Republicans and 16 from Kerry’s Democrats responded to the breakthrough in Munich by introducing a Bill imposing even harsher sanctions, with the option of war if Iran doesn’t surrender the modest gains achieved in Munich.

Whilst McCann grossly distorts the tentative agreement reached on Jan. 20 between Iran and the six world powers, he offers no evidence that any of the “Zionist ultra” senators supporting the bill – which would impose harsher sanctions on Iran if they failed to abide by a potential long-term agreement - ever uttered a word about antisemitism.

McCann’s villains – those who evidently casually accuse anyone and everyone who opposes Israeli positions of engaging in antisemitism – consist of straw men, conjured to support his polemical construct and advance his continuing Irish Times approved smears of Israel and its supporters.

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The ‘utilitarian’ Zionism of the Guardian’s Giles Fraser

Giles Fraser’s April 5 column in the Guardian about Zionism in the context of the recent rise of right-wing antisemitism in Hungary includes the following passages:

Regularly, on the Hungarian football terraces, a familiar nursery rhyme is chanted, with the words adapted to “the train goes to Auschwitz”.

Budapest may have Central Europe‘s largest population of Jews, but some of them are now asking themselves if it is time to leave. A month after the Israel match, a prominent leader of the Jewish community was beaten up by thugs in the street who screamed at him “rotten filthy Jews, you will all die”. The Holy Crown radio station – registered in the US, and thus protected by their freedom of speech laws – defended the attack as “a response to general Jewish terrorism”. And last November, the leader of the far right Jobbik party, the third largest party in the Hungarian parliament, called for influential Hungarian Jews to be catalogued and assessed as a national security risk. Elsewhere, Jewish graves are being desecrated and, encouraged by the government, statues are being erected to Nazi ally Miklós Horthy. With a failing currency, sky-rocketing unemployment and government credit rating reduced to junk status, all this is frighteningly reminiscent of the past.

Fraser then pivots to Zionism:

Which is why re-reading Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish Question in a Budapest cafe, opposite the astonishingly beautiful Dohány Street Synagogue, feels, once again, so topical. Herzl was born in 1860 in the house next to the synagogue and had his bar mitzvah there. Later he left for Austria and went on to become the founding father of modern Zionism.

Herzl’s sense that even assimilated Jews are not always protected by their integration with surrounding society was well made.

Indeed.

Fraser then proceeds to explain the following:

I am a Zionist

He then adds the following disclaimer:

[I am] not an Israel right-or-wrong type of Zionist. Not a supporter of the settlement movement type of Zionist, and absolutely not a supporter of the shameful treatment of Palestinians type of Zionist. Tragically, the left-leaning universalist idealism of the likes of Herzl feels increasingly like a thing of the past in modern Israeli politics.

Fraser adds:

But for all Israel’s political blunders and military brutality, the place to look for the necessity of the state of Israel is not in Israel itself but in places like Budapest.

Fraser’s Zionism, as with many who similarly fancy themselves more ‘enlightened’ Zionists, seems based not on the Jews’ right to national self-determination, but on the state’s usefulness to European diaspora Jewish communities – a Jewish state whose continued existence, it would follow, is primarily ‘justified’ by virtue of the safe haven it provides for persecuted Jews throughout the world.

Whilst it is of course true that one of Zionism’s moral missions pertains to the Jewish state’s role as (what Herzl termed) ‘Guardian of the Jews, the nation, now established, no longer needs any further justification.  The rights of the modern Jewish state – now re-established – are not forever in a state of limbo awaiting the results of an ongoing assessment – or periodic review – tasked to affirm or deny its value.  

A nation’s rights – as with the rights afforded to individuals – which are in any way contingent upon the benevolence of others are not rights at all, but would more aptly be described as ‘privileges’.

For thousands of years European Jews were subjected to the whims and wishes of non-Jewish rulers – required to accept that whatever political liberties or physical safety they may have temporarily enjoyed in their ‘host country’ was always precarious, and often continually required that they demonstrate the usefulness of their presence.  A truly liberal case against antisemitism - expressed towards Jews as individuals and as a nation – would necessarily include the rejection such utilitarian arguments for Jewish freedom.

Nobody, argued Israel’s late foreign minister Abba Eban, “does Israel any service by proclaiming its ‘right to exist’ – a right, he added, “like that of the United States, Saudi Arabia and [every] other state”, which is “axiomatic and unreserved”.

The Jewish state’s inherent right to continued political independence is not a reward it must earn, a favor to be granted or a privilege to be bestowed. 

Guardian reader bemoans the effectiveness of CiF Watch

The following reader comment beneath the line of a Steve Bell cartoon on Feb. 4 – which, as we argued in a post, could arguably be interpreted as suggesting that Zionists have a significant degree of control over the media – was priceless.

as

It didn’t occur on the date the reader believed, but on Nov. 6, 2011, there was indeed a post by Guardian readers’ editor Chris Elliott which made a thinly veiled reference to CiF Watch, and argued that “reporters, editors and writers” must be more careful to avoid “lapses into language resonant of antisemitism”.

Whilst, I don’t know if anything we do, per the comment above, can exactly be characterized as “well-orchestrated” and, per SantaMoniker, the idea that we’re “powerful” is risible.  Additionally, antisemitism at the Guardian clearly has not disappeared since Elliott’s warning (Bell’s cartoon on Nov. 15 depicting Bibi controlling Blair and Hague as puppets suggests the limits of Elliott’s control over such content), but if the result of our work is that the Guardian is even a little bit more careful to avoid having their voice “diminished” by evoking antisemitic canards, then we’re clearly doing something right. 

 

“Israel-firsters”, “traitors” and other epithets hurled at Chuck Hagel’s critics by Guardian readers

The empirical probability that reader comments in response to Israel-related content at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’ will quickly devolve into anti-Zionist vitriol is as good as the likelihood that the specific epithets used by commenters will be consistent with the Guardian Left narrative.

Both are near certainties.    

While we’ve often posted about reader comments which are more explicitly antisemitic, the following thread effectively illustrates the manner in which the debate over Hagel’s nomination for Defense Secretary has been framed at the Guardian – where a conservative Republican has engendered the sympathy of the Guardian Left due largely to the political orientation of those aligned against him.   

Here is a brief snippet of the conversation below the line of Matt Williams’ Jan. 7 Guardian report, ‘Obama keen on Chuck Hagel nomination despite opposition‘.

The Israeli-Palestinian issue is “never debated” in the US.

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Israel, and American “Israel Firsters” control the US.

3

Historically oppressed Jews have now become the oppressors. 

  4

American Israel-Firsters are, in fact, traitors to their country.

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Then, there was this rebuttal:

smWe hear it all the time below the line, following dog whistles above the line, at ‘Comment is Free’. 

Banned by the Guardian: My journey at ‘Comment is Free’ comes to an end

Over the course of nearly three years I went from ‘Comment is Free’ contributor, to CiF commenter in good standing, to permanently pre-moderated CiF commenter, to banned user. 

It was a good run, but my personal ‘Comment is Free’ journey seems to have come to an end.

It started well enough.  Through my previous work with NGO Monitor I was able to get an essay published at Comment is Free in Feb. 2010, commenting on an appalling anti-Zionist rant by a far left extremist named Jody McIntyre which was published in the youth magazine of the UK charity organization, Christian Aid – at the now evidently defunct ‘CtrlAltShift‘.  

cif essay

The resulting row motivated Christian Aid to take down McIntyre’s piece (and all of his other Israel related blog posts) and apologize “unreservedly” for their error.

When I first joined CiF Watch, I was pleasantly surprised that the editors at ‘Comment is Free’ allowed me comment beneath the line using my real name – and I was even permitted to note in my user profile that I was the managing editor of a group dedicated to exposing antisemitism at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free.

Here’s how my profile looked:

profile

I was never a frequent commenter, as there is enough offensive material at the Guardian and CiF to comment at greater length at our CiF Watch blog – and there are quite a few Zionist, philo-Semitic commenters who do a fantastic job of responding (with wit and wisdom) to the antisemitic and anti-Zionist propaganda appearing below and above the line.

However, occasionally I sensed that I may have annoyed the CiF moderators by violating the Guardian Prime Directive: Thou shall not write the name ‘CiF Watch’ or link to it the site in any way beneath the line.  Such reader comment apostasy typically gets the comment deleted, and can result in a Guardian purgatory called “pre-moderation” – a place of uninterrupted darkness, where your every comment has to be pre-approved by some sort of CiF committee of Elders before it gets published.

Sure enough, one day, I woke up and thought to comment on a CiF piece, and (in my utter horror!) saw this.

premod

The ideological algorithm which CiF moderators use to determine what gets deleted and what doesn’t get deleted has always been a bit of a mystery to the supporters of this blog (a topic we’ve commented on quite frequently), and the question of what can and can’t be written while in pre-mod was even more vexing, and I largely avoided even attempting to comment.

So, I was a bit perplexed to say the least when I considered submitting a comment under a CiF thread last night, only to find the following:

disabled

Here’s what’s left of my profile:

adam banned

All my comments over the years have been permanently deleted from their site.

Why indeed did the ‘comrade Guardians’ decide to ban me completely from the site, and erase all traces my two-year presence at CiF?

Well, their comment FAQ’s state the following:

rules

While I’ll likely never learn why I fell out of favor with ‘the Party’, my guess is it may have something to do with our continuing counter-revolutionary commentary exposing their Judeophobic biases, their licensing of the most extremist, antisemitic voices and a pervasive hostility towards the Jewish state at their site.

As a CST Report on Antisemitic Discourse in the UK observed:

 Jewish Chronicle by its deputy editor, Jenni Frazer, appeared to capture the feelings of many Jews and mainstream UK Jewish communal bodies towards the Guardian. She wrote: “…I cannot count the number of complaints we have had from readers who do not understand the Guardian’s obsession with Jews and Israel, the poisonous letters or op-eds it publishes.”

One thing is certain: Above the line or below the line, CiF Watch will continue attempting to explain, name and shame the Guardian’s malign obsession with Jews and Israel.

 CiF Watch, by use of the evidently “abusive” and “offensive” trolling tactics of facts, history, logic and moral reasoning, will continue trying to influence the debate about Jews and Israel below the line and above the line at the Guardian and ‘Comment is Free’