web analytics
December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Home » Blogs » CIFWatch »

Guardian Misleads Readers on Israeli Druze

The war, if it comes, may not be a disaster, if it delivers Golan back into Syrian hands.

Shefaa Abu Jabal in Majdal Shams

Shefaa Abu Jabal in Majdal Shams
Photo Credit: Hadar Sela

In our previous post about a report by Phoebe Greenwood in the Guardian (‘Golan Heights braces for war as tensions rise between Syria and Israel, May 31) we exposed two errors.  The report grossly inflated the number of Druze in the Golan Heights (there are 20,000, not 80,000 as Greenwood claimed), and also falsely alleged that Druze is an “Islamic sect” when it is in fact a unique monotheistic religion which departed from Islam around the 11th century.

As we noted in our last post (as a bit of background), Majdal Shams is one of the four Druze communities in the Golan Heights, with a population of about 9,000. After capturing the Golan Heights during the Six Day War, Israel offered all the Druze people living there citizenship—an offer most turned down. However, they all carry Israeli ID cards and are free to live, travel, work, and seek higher education anywhere in the Jewish state.

However, in addition to these factual errors, Greenwood’s report on the precarious position of residents of the Israeli-Syrian border town of Majdal Shams – in the context of a Syrian civil war which has already spread to Lebanon and now threatens Israel’s northern communities – relies largely on a Druze who she fails to fully identify.

Greenwood writes the following:

“We are in a very special situation. We are lucky our village wasn’t destroyed in 1967 because Israel considers us Druze so we are not a target for them. We are Syrian so we are not a target for Syria or for Hezbollah. We are like an island in this region,” explains Dr Maray Taisseer [sic], a consultant at the Majdal Shams medical centre and community spokesperson.

Leaving aside the risible claim that the Syrian Druze community in the Golan wouldn’t ever be targeted by the Iranian sponsored Shiite Islamist movement or the regime of Bashar Assad because neither would dare target ‘Syrians’, it’s misleading to refer to Dr. Taisseer Maray (Greenwood conflated his first and last names) as a “community spokesman”.

Maray, Greenwood primary source, is in fact the director of a highly politicized, pro-BDS NGO, Golan for Development, and has stated his opposition to the existence of a Jewish state within any borders.

Greenwood then quotes Maray further:

The war, if it comes, may not be a disaster, Taisseer suggests, if it delivers Golan back into Syrian hands.

“Whatever happens in Syria, everyone agrees we should be liberated – it doesn’t matter whether it’s by regime or rebel forces. This is Syrian land and that is clear,” he states unequivocally.

However, as my colleague Hadar Sela (a longtime resident of the Golan) observed, it’s clear to those who have truly gotten to know the Druze of Majdal Shams over a number of years that ‘everyone’ does not agree.  The vast majority of Druze there have family in Syria and they’re likely terrified about their safety. Hence, every word they say, Sela argued, “is likely measured because they know full well that a wrong word in the media may have serious consequences.”

Further, as Middle East analyst Michael Totten has observed about the Golan Druze in World Affairs Journal:

[Druze are] loyal to whoever is in charge of the country they live in…The Druze on the Golan are no different from Israeli or Lebanese Druze in this way, but their political geography is different. Though they’re governed by Israel now, they may be governed again by Syria later. So even though Israel offers them citizenship, most haven’t taken it. They’re afraid of the consequences if Syrian rule ever returns.

Also quite noteworthy are comments by the mayor of Majdal Shams, Dolan Abu-Salah, who suggested in an interview in 2012 that living in Israel was a “privilege”.  Abu-Salah went on to boast that, by living in the state of Israel, “we [Druze] enjoy all the benefits of a very democratic regime. We pay taxes. And we get excellent social benefits.”

Shefaa Abu Jabal, a prominent Majdal Shams Druze spokesperson (and anti-Assad activist) explained in an interview with Dissent Magazine last summer that though her heart may long emotionally for Syria, she is “100 percent aware that thanks to my education that I received here in Israel I can express my opinion more freely”. Indeed, last July Abu Jabal passed the Israeli bar after graduating from Haifa University Law School—the first Syrian Druze woman resident of Israel to graduate from an Israeli university.

Just two weeks after Abu Jabal uttered those words, she emailed the journalist at Dissent to say that she had deactivated her Facebook page. She needed to “be out of the spotlight” for a while, and “to protect her allies living under Assad“.

Whilst it may be difficult to determine with any degree of empirical certainty how “most” Druze in Majdal Shams feel about the situation in Syria, or their Israeli identity, Greenwood’s story – and her reliance on selected “spokespersons” – represents a good example of the risks of taking the reports of Guardian journalists compromised by preconceived narratives about the region at face value.

Visit CiF Watch.

About the Author: Adam Levick serves as Managing Editor of CiF Watch, an affiliate of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), and is a member of the Online Antisemitism Working Group for the Global Forum to Combat Antisemitism. Adam made Aliyah from Philadelphia in 2009 and lives with his wife in Modi'in.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “Guardian Misleads Readers on Israeli Druze”

  1. Arie's Pragmatic Politics says:

    Again in context – the guardian is the legacy of the height of goebbles and his nazi propaganda machine, exceeded only by haaretz and ny times.

  2. Shefaa Abu Jabal says:

    Out of context sir, totally out of context.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Firebombed car near Maale Shomron
Breaking News: 11-Year-Old Girl Fighting For Her Life Following Arab Terror Attack
Latest Blogs Stories
Stairway to success!

My stairs had been built, big and strong-BUT ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE APARTMENT!

HaTnua Party Meeting

Is his article satire? Or does Kai Bird really think Tzipi Livni heads a “center-right” party?

Shabbat Table

Much as I’d like to see the Jewish nation fully observant forcing Shabbat on people is NOT the way.

game of thrones

Loyalty seems to be a lost trait in Israeli politics, whether it’s to ideals, principles or parties.

Apartment hunting is kinda like dating: You go see anything that looks right on paper-and pray.

Latest headlines say that Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s Likud may only make third place if…

What are the roles of leadership and communication in running a “tight ship”?

Sabraman: Israel’s first superhero, combining the courage of the Sabra and the faith of Abraham.

Is Haredi open-ended learning on charity better than earning a living that would obviate that?

Hanuka is the miracle of emunah- belief in the L-rd of Israel and the light of our faith.

Limiting Jewish success and revival is that the anti-Jewish, anti-History Left rules here in Israel

The crisis in Jewish education is of existential importance. How should it be resolved?

BBC GUIDELINES ON TERRORISM: The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid…

Discussion with entrepreneur William Heinecke on how he became a young, successful businessman

Did Cuba apologize for their spies the way Israel apologized for Pollard?

Nothing binds Jews together more than Torah observance; Or so one would think.

More Articles from Adam Levick
Car in Light Rail Runover

If you’re a Palestinian and get an urge to do something that might cause Jews to stop living-don’t!

.

Amnesty International:The crippling of the power station was “collective punishment of Palestinians”

The bill (by Senator Robert Menendez, along with 58 co-sponsors) has been accurately described by multiple media sources.

One Israeli media outlet steadfastly refuses to set the record straight.

You don’t even need to believe that antisemitism is at play to be contemptuous of the extraordinary myopia displayed in the Guardian report.

To learn more about the story we contacted Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s legal advisor.

This [particular] Volunteer Soldiers’ Basic Training was extra special.

Pretending that the facts of the Holocaust are a matter of serious historical dispute is a classic rhetorical evasion.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/guardian-misleads-readers-on-israeli-druze/2013/06/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: