Indy ignores deadly Palestinian terror, but rushes to pronounce settlers guilty in lethal rock-attack

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

We recently noted that the Indy was one of three British media outlets which failed to cover the two recent Palestinian terror attacks that claimed the lives of three Israelis – Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, Ziv Hajbi, and Ari Fuld – but did find time to report on other Israel related stories.

By contrast, the Indy on Saturday night was quick to publish a story about a rock-throwing attack in the West Bank that claimed the life of a Palestinian woman – an attack, relatives claim, was carried out by settlers.  However, not only did the Indy jump on the story, but immediately pronounced the settlers guilty, despite the fact that the incident is still under investigation and there aren’t any suspects.

Here’s our tweet to the Indy journalist, Samuel Osborne.

Here’s the opening sentence of the Oct. 14th article:

Palestinian woman has been killed after being struck in the head by a stone thrown by Israeli settlers.

However, as other media outlets made clear, claims are based on testimony by the victim’s relatives who  didn’t actually see the perpetrators. 

Note Reuters’ far more careful and accurate headline on the incident:

Here’s Reuters’ equally cautious opening sentence:

Israeli police said on Saturday they were investigating the death of a Palestinian woman in the occupied West Bank, after her husband said he suspected Israeli settlers had pelted their car with rocks.

Though the Shin Bet has opened an investigation into the incident, and the accusations may ultimately turn out to be true, to report that the settlers are guilty as if it’s an established fact is inconsistent with the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code, which requires that media outlets “distinguish clearly between…conjecture and fact”.

We’ve filed a complaint with Indy editors.

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UKMW prompts Guardian to acknowledge there’s no ‘settler-only’ roads in the West Bank

Cross posted fromUK Media Watch

The myth that there are ‘Jews-only’ or ‘settler-only’ roads in the West Bank has been debunked numerous times over the years by CAMERA and its affiliates – prompting corrections at media outlets such as CNNAssociated PressWashington PostThe EconomistFinancial Times and The Telegraph.

As we’ve explained on numerous occasions, there are, for security reasons, a very small percentage of roads in the West Bank restricted to Palestinians.  However, all roads are open to Israeli citizens of all religious backgrounds and foreign nationals of all religious backgrounds.  There is not, nor have there ever been, religiously based restrictions on roads in Israel or the West Bank – nor roads only for settlers.

The latest publication to publish a version of this lie is the Guardian, in an Oct. 11th op-ed by Nkosi Zwelivelile (the grandson of Nelson Mandela) attempting to use this ‘fact’ to support the larger lie that Israel is an apartheid state.

Here’s our tweet pointing out the erroneous claim – one of several in the paragraph, but, we concluded, the one most egregiously inconsistent with the accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code.

We followed up our tweet with an email editors, who upheld our complaint and amended the text in the sentence to the still misleading but improved “roads built for settlers which are not accessible to Palestinians”, and, more importantly, included the following addendum at the bottom of the op-ed:

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For 2nd time in 3 weeks, major UK media outlets ignore deadly Palestinian terror attack

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

Times of London

Since the Palestinian terror attack at the Barkan Industrial Park on Sunday that killed two Israelis, Kim Levengrond Yehezkel, the mother of an infant, and Ziv Hajbi, a father of three, Times of London’s Jerusalem correspondent Anshel Pfeffer published two articles: both concerning fraud charges against Sara Netanyahu. 

Times of London articles by Anshel Pfeffer, Oct. 7th and Oct. 8th.

But, neither Pfeffer nor any of the paper’s other regional correspondents published anything on the deadly West Bank terror attack.

Barkan terror attack victims: Kim Levengrond Yehezkel and Ziv Hagbi

The Telegraph

The Telegraph’s Jerusalem correspondent, Raf Sanchez, published an article this morning on the row between Turkey and Saudi Arabia over the missing Saudi journalist, and another regional correspondent published an Israel related story – regarding Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin.  

However, as with Times of London, nothing has been published by any of the Telegraph’s reporters about the Barkan terror attack.

The Independent

The Independent published an article on the day of the attack about new Israeli restrictions on Gaza’s fishing zone, but nothing on the Palestinian terror attack, despite the fact that the Indy has a Middle East correspondent, Bel Trew, who covers Israel and the Palestinian territories quite extensively.

Independent, Oct. 9

In addition to ignoring Sunday’s deadly attack, by 23-year-old Walid Suleiman Na’alowa, a colleague of the victims at the Barkan plant, Times of London, The Telegraph and Independent have something else in common: they all similarly ignored the Palestinian terror attack on Sept. 16th at Gush Etzion Junction that killed Ari Fuld, a father of four from Efrat.

Other major outlets:

The Guardian published an AFP article on Sunday about the Barkan Industrial Park attack – though nothing on the murder of Ari Fuld.  In contrast, the Daily Mail – as with the BBC – eventually covered both terror attacks.

Beyond the question of journalistic priorities on the day of, and first few days following, the attack, it’s telling that all of the media outlets cited have, over the course of the past six months, more often than not, devoted coverage to Palestinian injuries and deaths related to the weekly violent border riots – many which included highly evocative photos from the scene.

Times of London

Independent

The Telegraph

The journalistic axiom ‘if it bleeds it leads’ isn’t entirely true when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where selective concern for the suffering of one side is the norm – indicative of a broader pattern of double standards which continues to compromise British media coverage of the region.

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BBC Two presenter Victoria Derbyshire should read this A-Z thread on Labour antisemitism

As followers of BBC Watch no doubt recall, on Aug. 15th, BBC Two presenter Victoria Derbyshire interviewed two British Jews, Mark Lewis and his partner Mandy Blumenthal, to discuss their view that antisemitism in the UK has become so bad that they no longer felt safe living there, and had decided to emigrate to Israel.

As we noted at the time, the interview was so biased – and at times hostile – that the BBC presenter could have been mistaken for a Jeremy Corbyn spokesperson, as she spouted off meaningless Labour talking points, used misleading statistics attempting to downplay antisemitism and seemed convinced that the couple was grossly exaggerating their concerns – despite death threats and other forms of abuse they’ve experienced.  

Derbyshire even at one point – in an attempt to discredit their claims – accused Lewis and Blumenthal of belonging to a non-existent Zionist political party in the UK.

Yesterday, @GasherJew, a twitter account that’s been doing extremely important work exposing antisemitism in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party, tweeted the following thread containing an A-Z of examples of Labour antisemitism.

The list is especially useful for journalists and pro-Corbyn activists who deny that antisemitism is a serious issue in the party, or suggest that the problem has been greatly exaggerated by the British Jewish community. (See web version of the twitter thread here)

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Guardian quotes Gaza ‘protester’ claiming new night time riots are meant to save lives

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

You don’t need to be a journalist, Mid-East analyst or expert of any kind to come up with a list of practical steps ‘protesters’ participating in the Hamas organised Great Return March can take to save Palestinian lives.

Here are just a few: 

  1. Stop firing at soldiers on the border.
  2. Stop throwing grenades and other explosive devices at soldiers on the border.
  3. Stop attempting to damage the security fence and infiltrate into Israel in order to kill Jews.

We don’t mean to be cheeky, but to introduce a larger point: that the Guardian’s coverage of the region is defined, as much as any other factor, by the denial of Palestinian agency, with reports invariably attributing Gaza’s woes to some sort of act of nature or, much more often, Israeli malevolence. 

Reports on Palestinian deaths and injuries during the Gaza border riots which have taken place since March 31st are a case in point, with their correspondents at pains to obfuscate Palestinian responsibility for initiating the deadly confrontations with Israeli soldiers.

A recent article (Two children among seven people shot dead by Israel, say officials, Sept. 29) by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Oliver Holmes, on the most recent border riots, noted an alternative idea for saving lives, one that doesn’t rely our ‘conventional wisdom’.

Here’s the relevant sentence:

During the past two weeks, the Hamas-led Friday rallies have grown in size and also moved to evenings and night-time, a move protesters say is to save lives as people can move under the cover of darkness. Piles of tyres have also been burnt to obscure the snipers’s vision.

Reports elsewhere note that Palestinians have called this new strategy – which involves the usual riot tactics, such as throwing incendiary devices towards soldiers (and sound bombs that can be heard in nearby Israeli communities), but doing them when it’s dark, “night confusion units”. 

By “saving lives”, the ‘protester’ of course was referring to the hope that, by operating under the cover of darkness, they could engage in violent actions on the border with greater impunity.

However, a report in The National included a quote by a Israeli military official who said “the night protests do not pose a new challenge” given the night vision equipment used by soldiers.  So, it seems, despite the Palestinian claim uncritically cited in the Guardian, the new tactic of engaging in violence against soldiers or attempting to infiltrate the border at night will not “save lives”.

But, beyond the narrow claim regarding whether such new tactics will save lives, it’s remarkable that reporters like Holmes never seem interested in exploring the more vital questions concerning the impact of a Palestinian culture which encourages civilians – including young children – into situations likely to result in serious injury or death. 

As former AP Jerusalem correspondent Matti Friedman wrote in his landmark 2014 expose on institutional anti-Israel media bias and the liberal racism of low expectations, “Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate.”  “The story mandates”, Friedman added, “that they exist as passive victims” of Israel, the only party that matters.

This failure of media outlets such as the Guardian to recognize that Palestinians are more than just victims, and have the capacity to resist such destructive behavior, continues to deny news consumers an accurate understanding of the factors driving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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UKMW prompts important addendum to Indy article on IDF ‘whooping’ video

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

On April 10th, The Independent republished a New York Times article by Isabel Kershner (“Israeli forces caught in video shooting Palestinian man then whooping”) that was published on April 9th.

The report cited grainy video footage from several months ago “appearing to show Israeli troops shooting a Palestinian man across the border fence at a time when he posed no obvious threat…and then rejoicing”.  The NYT then highlighted the fact that “another soldier who appears to be videoing the scene whoops with excitement”, footage the NYT claims bolsters criticism that the IDF uses “disproportionate force” against Gaza “protesters”.

However, the report doesn’t include the official IDF statement about the video which was available more than an hour before the Indy republished the NYT piece.  The IDF statement, as reported by multiple Israeli news outlets, significantly changes the story, as it provides Israel’s account of the circumstances – and context – by which the Palestinian man was shot.  This includes prior warnings given by the soldier for the man to halt, the fact that he was shot in the leg and not killed, and that he had led a violent protest at the border which included the use of Molotov cocktails.

These facts are important because the article claims that the Palestinian man who was shot appeared to “pose no threat”.

Also of relevance is the fact that, per the IDF statement, the man heard celebrating would now be subjected to a disciplinary hearing for his inappropriate behavior.

Following communication with editors at The Independent over the course of a couple of weeks, the following addendum was added containing this relevant information.

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Guardian op-ed challenges the ‘rigid’ Yom Ha’atzmaut ‘orthdoxy’ that Israel should exist

Cross posted from UK Media Watch

Last week, Israel – and its supporters around the world – marked 70 years of its existence, as the country celebrated Yom Haatzmaut, Independence Day. In Israel, it is a day when political differences and arguments are put to one side, as the country joins together to celebrate its achievements, and its very existence. But the Guardian naturally wasn’t going to change course, and published a typically Guardian opinion piece to mark the day.

featured image

Michael Segalov’s opinion piece complains that Yom Haatzmaut does “not leave room for nuance”, and “only creates space for a certain type of Jew,” before reminding us that “Judaism has a long and proud history of dissent and disagreement”. He argues that Jews should follow the idea of seeing “Israel Independence Day as an opportunity for debate.”

Often UK Media Watch focuses on bias and inaccurate reporting.  But, in this case, it falls to us to dismember an incredibly weak opinion article, which surely would not have been published were it not to flatter the opinions of the editors.

The argument that Yom Haatzmaut doesn’t leave room for nuance is simply wrong. One can be right-wing or left-wing, secular or religious, Jewish or non-Jewish, pro-Netanyahu or anti, and basically subscribe to any political ideology under the sun, and celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. This isn’t just theoretical – this is the reality in Israel! Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut simply means you celebrate the existence of a Jewish state of Israel in some form. This is as basic a requirement as possible, and does not in any way preclude what form that state should take.

As often with anti-Israel articles, one sees the warped and convoluted logic when applying this “Israel-speak” to another country. Almost all countries in the world celebrate an Independence Day. The statement that “celebrating Bastille Day leaves no room for nuance, and implies there is only one way to be French,” is just a non starter. Yet such nonsense is seen enlightened when said about Israel.

Segalov’s argument is also profoundly underdeveloped, or frankly non-existent. He quotes, disapprovingly, the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom, who said that Zionism is inseparable from Judaism, and counters that we should not make Zionism a part of the Jewish faith. But Judaism is not Mr Segalov’s plaything, and he does not actually present a counter argument himself. His response to the Chief Rabbi is a) that opinion only creates room for one type of Jew, and b) Judaism has a tradition of dissent.

His essential response to “Zionism is inseparable from Judaism” is a) I don’t like that, and b) Judaism allows for multiple lines of argument, even though I haven’t actually provided one.  This is not so much an opinion piece, more an I-don’t-like-their-opinion piece.

And finally, he should call a spade a spade. What is the content of the “debate” Mr Segalov is calling for? If one is calling for a debate on Independence Day, isn’t that a polite way of calling to debate the very existence of the country? One cannot “debate” in the abstract, one must debate something – an argument, a concept, a preposition. Mr Segalov stops short of saying what his proposition is, but leaves little to the imagination. In his mind, the correct way to mark Israel’s independence is to challenge its continued independence.

Here is the final irony of the article. Segalov calls for diversity, room for multiple voices. If only the Guardian had that ability to create space for another voice – for just one day a year, to put aside its qualms, and to join in recognising the tremendous achievements of Israel. Alas, until then, it seems the Guardian’s monotony of gloom and doom about Israel will continue.

Aron White has a BSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of London (Lead College: LSE), and is a graduate of the Jewish Statesmanship Center in Jerusalem. His writings have been published at the Jerusalem Post, JNS, The Daily Caller and the Algemeiner.

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The BBC and Israeli science

This is a cross-post from the ‘Good News from Israel‘ blog.

On the Jewish festival of Purim, we wear masks as a disguise. It reflects the Purim story in which the true nature of the events leading up to Jewish redemption from the threat of annihilation is disguised as a series of apparent coincidences. In today’s upside-down world, the positive activities of the State of Israel are mostly covered up by the International media. Using some recent examples, I’ll now remove the mask to reveal Israel’s true identity.

Israeli scientists have been responsible for many breakthroughs in cancer treatments. But you wouldn’t know this if your only news source was the British Broadcasting Corporation. 

Read the rest of the post here.

UKMW Interview with Dave Rich

Our sister site UK Media Watch has a very interesting interview with the CST’s Dave Rich – author of the new and very timely book ‘The Left’s Jewish Problem’.dave-rich

UKMW:  In the first chapter of your book, ‘When the Left Stopped Loving Israel’, you argued that the rise of anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism as the defining ideologies of the radical left influenced activists to see the Israeli-Arab conflict through a different lens. Is it a fair reading of this chapter to say that, contrary to most theories, this left-wing intellectual tide began to turn before the Six Day War – that is, before Israel occupied one square centimeter of land?

Dave Rich: Yes, this is correct, although – and this is the key point – the radical left argument was, and remains, that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land began in 1948 (or before), and 1967 was just an extension of that earlier ‘crime’. The Six Day War saw an outburst of anti-Zionism on the radical Left in several countries, but the political ideas fuelling that outburst were already visible in the decade prior to that war. In Britain, anti-colonialism had become a prominent liberal and left-wing cause during the 1950s as colonies gained independence, and the Suez Crisis exposed the shabby duplicity required to maintain Britain’s imperial interests. The idea that Israel was a legacy of Western colonialism, rather than a rejection of it as many leftists had believed in 1948, was increasingly heard in radical left-wing politics in the early 1960s. So when the Six Day War occurred it was, as one contemporary observer wrote, “the perfect example of the key event as orchestrator of a symphony which was ready to be played.” The war gave focus and energy to ideas that already existed: this is why the radical left-wing response in the years following 1967 was not limited to analysing that war and its consequences, but instead critiqued the circumstances of Israel’s creation and the ideology of Zionism itself. People began to see Israel as a settler state, comparable to South Africa and Rhodesia – all three of which were former British colonies, so the theory had particular purchase in Britain.

Read the whole interview here.

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A media story the BBC ignored surfaces again

Back in 2013 we noted the BBC’s silence concerning restrictions on foreign journalists introduced by the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Information and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate (PJS). Khaled Abu Toameh reported at the time that:PJS

“The new decision is directed primarily against Israeli journalists who cover Palestinian affairs. […]

The Palestinian Journalist’s Syndicate has long been opposed to “normalization” with Israel, and bans its members from holding meetings with Israeli colleagues. Some Palestinian journalists who defied the ban were recently expelled from the syndicate.”

In February 2016 the PJS went a step further and decided “to boycott any Palestinian official who gives an interview to Israeli reporters or media organizations”. Despite its logical, long-standing interest in the topic of press freedom, the BBC similarly refrained from reporting that story.

Our colleague Tamar Sternthal of CAMERA has now published an article concerning one of the instigators of this latest PJS boycott, titled “‘Rigorous Neutrality’?: Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate’s Nasser Abu Baker Moonlights For AFP”.

“Objectivity is a difficult goal to achieve. The mere unavoidable organisation of facts can influence a reader’s judgement. However, this does not prevent us from pursuing our policy of rigorous neutrality. According to its remit, AFP is independent of the French government and all other economic or political interests.” So state the lofty principles enshrined in “Agence France Presse’s Values.”

How, then, does one explain the fact that Nasser Abu Baker, the chairman of the Palestinian Journalists’ Syndicate, the leading force for the boycott of Israeli journalists and media, also writes for the influential French news agency? […]

According to an Israeli journalist who frequently reports from the Palestinian areas, Abu Baker “is without a doubt among the leaders in the boycott movement against Israeli journalists.” The Israeli, who refused to be named because of his ongoing work in Palestinian-controlled territory, maintained that Abu Baker “carries out a witch hunt against Palestinian journalists who don’t abide by this policy” by harassing and smearing them.

Indeed, when he was deputy chairman of the syndicate, Abu Baker recently threatened:

“I call upon all male and female colleagues/journalists to boycott any Palestinian official, regardless of how senior he/she is, who conducts an interview with Israeli journalists and Israeli media…this poisonous media whose only goal is to broadcast dissent and incite against our people. Their media, which is directed by their government, is one of the tools of the occupation. Therefore, the time has come for a comprehensive boycott of their media. The Syndicate will have a clear position on this and I plead with all the journalists to abide. We will publish the name of any official who gives an interview to their media from this moment.” 

Read the whole report here.