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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Guardian’

Harriet Sherwood Completely Mischaracterizes Iran Sanctions Bill

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

A March 2nd Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood and Dan Roberts (Binyamin Netanyahu visit will test strains in US-Israel relationship) included the following claim regarding efforts in the US Senate to pass a new Iran sanctions bill:

…the failure of an Aipac-supported effort to pass legislation blocking Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran has led to a reassessment of the fabled ability of its lobbyists to wield a veto over US policy when it comes to matters of Israeli security.

This is a complete mischaracterization of a bill (S.1881 – Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013) which, by all accounts, is designed to put more pressure on Iran so that they’ll comply with any nuclear agreement that is reached with the six world powers.

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

Washington Post

The measure introduced Thursday, if approved, would impose harsh new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry while also threatening U.S. allies and partners with financial restrictions unless they sharply curtail trade with Iran. The sanctions would go into effect if Iran violated the terms of the temporary accord reached last month or if it failed to reach a permanent agreement with world powers in a timely manner.

New York Times

A bipartisan group of senators, defying the White House, introduced a bill on Thursday to impose new sanctions on Iran if it failed to conclude a nuclear agreement, or stick to the terms of its interim deal, with the United States and other major powers.

The bill would seek to drive Iran’s oil exports down to zero and penalize its engineering, mining and construction industries. But the sanctions would not take effect before the six-month term of the interim deal expires, and they could be deferred for up to another six months, at Mr. Obama’s request, if the talks looked promising.

ABC News:

A bipartisan group of 26 senators introduced new legislation today proposing potential sanctions against Iran if the country fails to uphold the P5+1 agreement made last month or if it fails to reach a final agreement to terminate its nuclear weapons program.

The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., which calls for additional reductions in purchases of Iranian petroleum and creates more penalties for parts of the Iranian economy, including engineering, mining and construction.

The bill also provides the administration with up to one year from implementation of the agreement to try to reach a diplomatic solution that would completely end Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Business Insider

The legislation proposes sanctions in the event that Iran breaches the terms of the interim agreement reached last month in Geneva — or if world powers fail to come to a comprehensive agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Politico:

The sanctions legislation would impose conditional economic penalties on Iran if the country fails to follow through on an interim deal or pulls out of ongoing global negotiations to permanently curtail its nuclear ambitions in return for some sanctions relief.

CNN

Bipartisan legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would authorize new economic sanctions on Iran if it breaches an interim agreement to limit its nuclear program or fails to strike a final accord terminating those ambitions.

Clearly, the bill would increase sanctions against Iran only in the event negotiations with the six world powers (P5+1) fail to produce an agreement, or if Iran fails to abide by an agreement.  So, the claim made by Sherwood and Roberts that the bill would “block Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran” is untrue.

Guardian Poll: Should Oxfam Sever Ties with Scarlett Johansson?

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Our good friends at the Guardian are besides themselves trying to cover Israel-related issues in a balanced and unbiased way. And if you like their neutral headline, which doesn’t ask “what should Oxfam do” but rather offers option one from column A as the given, you’ll love their depiction of the events so far:

“It seems [Oxfam's] celebrity ambassador, Scarlett Johansson, has signed an advertising deal with SodaStream International Ltd, an Isreali company operating in the West Bank… [and the] move has caused an ‘internal revolt’ at Oxfam.”

Now that you know all the facts from a neutral perspective, do the interactive:

While there is no doubt that celebrity endorsement yields financial dividends for NGOs and can raise the profile of a cause, it can also infuriate staff and create tensions with communities in which the organization works. So what should Oxfam do? Take our poll and tell us your experiences or thoughts on celebrities and NGOs in the comment threads below.

Do you think Oxfam should sever ties with Scarlett Johansson?

I went ahead and voted No. The “landing page” didn’t tell me how many have participated, but 85% have voted a resounding Yes. If you care to, there are 6 days left before they close the poll, so if you’re into influencing world opinion, go vote and send the link to all your loved ones.

Cheerio.

Guardian’s Cartoon of Powerful Jews Manipulating Western Leaders

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Last November we posted about a political cartoon at the Guardian by Steve Bell depicting British foreign minister William Hague and Tony Blair as puppets being controlled by Binyamin Netanyahu, in the context of expressions of support by these leaders during the war in Gaza.  Bell’s image evoked the canard of powerful Jews controlling western politicians for their own nefarious purposes and was hauntingly similar to more explicitly antisemitic cartoons routinely found in Arab and Islamist world.

The Guardian’s readers’ editor, Chris Elliott, addressed the row a couple of weeks later, and actually rebuked Bell for ‘unintentionally’ using the visual language of antisemitic stereotypes.

While such cartoons often have more of an immediate impact in reinforcing negative stereotypes about Jews than lengthy essays, the damage done by such toxic ideas regarding ‘Jewish control’, in any form, should be taken seriously.  The Guardian narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, in news reports and commentaries, often includes passages with the unmistakable  suggestion that Israel (and the pro-Israeli lobby) wields enormous power over ineffectual Western leaders – a theme present in a report by Harriet Sherwood and Julian Borger titled ‘Iran nuclear programme deal in danger of unravelling’, Nov. 11.  The story centered on nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany) which ultimately unraveled largely due to concerns that the agreement would have eased sanctions on Iran without requiring that it cease enriching uranium.

The report by Sherwood and Borger included the following:

In a bid to contain the danger, the lead US negotiator, Wendy Sherman, flew straight from the talks in Geneva to Israel to reassure Binyamin Netanyahu’s government that the intended deal would not harm his country’s national interests.

The hastily arranged trip represented an acknowledgement of Netanyahu’s power to block a deal through his influence in the US Congress and in Europe. Egged on by the Israelis, the US Senate is poised to pass new sanctions that threaten to derail the talks before they get to their planned next round in 10 days’ time.

More immediately, Netanyahu demonstrated over the weekend that he could sway the Geneva talks from the inside through his relationship with Paris.

These passages of course strongly suggest that US congressional leaders take their marching orders from Jerusalem and that the French government’s position was not motivated by what it saw as its own national interests but, rather, as a result of the influence of the Israeli prime minister.

However, the deal was fatally flawed, according to many experts, due in part because it would have fallen short of the requirements in six resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council over the years which called on Iran to suspend ALL uranium enrichment – resolutions passed under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, rendering them binding under international law.

As Adam Chandler observed in an essay published at Tablet about the superficial analysis by Sherwood and Borger:

[Their argument] smacks of that paranoid, evergreen charge that all wars and international campaigns are waged on behalf of Israel, a claim that devolves from Israel into “the Jews” as it goes through portal after conspiratorial portal.

You don’t even need to believe that antisemitism is at play to nonetheless be contemptuous of the extraordinary myopia displayed in the Guardian report.  As Walter Russell Mead observed recently about the broader intellectual dynamic which unites antisemitism with anti-Zionism:

Weak minds…are easily seduced by attractive but empty generalizations. The comment attributed to August Bebel that anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools can be extended to many other kinds of cheap and superficial errors that people make. The baffled, frustrated and the bewildered seek a grand, simplifying hypothesis that can bring some kind of ordered explanation to a confusing world.

Guardian “journalists” may fancy themselves sophisticated, erudite and worldly, but their frequent ‘Zionist root cause’ explanations betray both their ideological bias and the extraordinarily facile nature of their reasoning.

Visit CIFWatch.

Zionist Big Bang Theory at the Guardian

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Quite a few commentators have rightly taken the French foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, to task for his recent absurd suggestion that the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict represents the root cause of instability in the Middle East.

Fabius’s remarkably myopic understanding of the region prompted Binyamin Netanyahu to point out the obvious: that if peace with the Palestinians were achieved today, the centrifuges won’t stop spinning in Iran, the savage civil war in Syria won’t abate, the instability in Egypt wouldn’t end, and attacks on the West will continue.

However, when I read Laurent’s comments, uttered in Ramallah after he met with Mahmoud Abbas, it reminded me of something the Guardian once claimed at the dawn of what they still were calling the “Arab Spring.” Sure enough:

A Guardian Feb. 2011 official editorial (“The Middle East: People, Power, Politics“) on Muammar Gaddafi’s brutal crackdown against protesters at the dawn of their civil war, and the broader political upheavals in the region, included this risible line:

“the Libyan leader may still be considered too valuable to lose, as US influence in the region decreases. Nowhere is that truer than in the cockpit of the crisis, Palestine.

The Guardian’s surreal editorial, which though dealing with Libya somehow managed to devote 200 of 675 words to the issue of “Palestine,” was indicative of the paper’s shameful misreading of the political upheavals which had occurred, or were to occur, in Bahrain, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and elsewhere.

Such framing of events in the Middle East – which attributes most political maladies to Israel’s “injurious” effects on the region – represents more than mere hostility to Israel, but is part of a broader political framework which often shows itself impervious to facts, logic, and new information.

Whilst the Guardian’s editorial line no longer seems wedded to this absurd Zionist causality, the fact that their initial response was to draw a line from Tripoli to Jerusalem speaks volumes about the intellectually crippling effects of their far-left ideology.

Visit CIFWatch.

The Myth of Palestinian Prisoner Torture the Guardian Perpetuates

Monday, June 17th, 2013

In late February, the Guardian devoted six separate news items (three stories and three photo posts) to the death of a Palestinian – named Arafat Jaradat – in an Israeli jail.  The stories, which all portrayed Jaradat and his ’cause’ in a sympathetic light, focused on baseless allegations by the PA that Jaradat, an Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade member who was arrested for terror activity, died as the result of torture – claims which were contradicted by the autopsy performed by Israel’s top forensic pathologists.

Here are the Guardian’s reports:

Item 1 (Phoebe Greenwood)

1 Item 2 (Associated Press)

2 Item 3 (Phoebe Greenwood)

4 Items 4 and 5: (Two photos relating to Jaradat from the same Feb. 25 edition of the Guardian’s ‘Picture Desk Live’)

1-and-a-half1

1-and-a-half-part-21

31

Though the PA’s claims of torture received significant coverage, subsequent reports (only a few days later) by Israeli pathologists – that the hemorrhages and fractured ribs found during the autopsy were caused by resuscitation attempts performed by medical staff, and not due to physical abuse – received no coverage in the Guardian.

Indeed, such myopic and at times obsessive focus on Israeli culpability is part of a pattern at the Guardian.

Similarly unreported by the paper are the myriad of credible charges of torture by Palestinian Authority security and prison personnel against Palestinian prisoners.  As Khaled Abu Toameh recently reported:

As a report [by Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR)] shows, there has been a 10% increase in the number of complaints of torture and mistreatment by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority during 2012 compared with the year before.

More than half of the 306 complaints about torture that were received last year came from Palestinians who had been detained or imprisoned by Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank, the report revealed.

Altogether, 11 detainees died in Palestinian Authority and Hamas prisons last year, according to the report.

One recent example of torture by PA security personnel was detailed in an April ICHR report.

The complaint of torture filed by Muhammad Abdelkareem Dar Muhammad, from Hebron, was one of the major complaints ICHR received in this regard. He claimed that he was subjected to torture and ill-treatment while detained by the [Palestinian] Preventive Security Agency in Hebron. On [April 28] 2013, he was rushed to the Public Hospital of Hebron for the second time after suffering speech impairment and injuries due to being subjected to beating on the head while hand-cuffed in solitary confinement throughout the period of his detention.

Yet, in contrast to the Guardian’s intense focus on one unsubstantiated accusation of torture in an Israeli jail, we were unable to find any mention at all by Guardian reporters or ‘CiF’ contributors of Muhammad Abdelkareem Dar Muhammad’s case, nor any of the other instances of torture and abuse of Palestinian prisoners in PA jails.

Though we’ve often charged the Guardian with consistently engaging in ‘activist journalism’ – searching for evidence to buttress preconceived pro-Palestinian conclusions – this observation is likely only half correct. The ubiquity of reporting alleging Israeli mistreatment of Palestinians stands in contrast to the dearth of stories in the paper highlighting Palestinian mistreatment of fellow Palestinians – all of which suggests that advancing a narrative of Israeli oppression is of far greater concern to their reporters than genuine advocacy on behalf of Palestinian human rights.

Visit CIFWatch.

What the Media Won’t Tell You about ‘Palestinian Prisoners’

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Harriet Sherwood’s April 9, 2013 Guardian report, about efforts by John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, discussed concessions demanded of Israel by Mahmoud Abbas before he’ll agree to resume negotiations, and included this passage:

The Palestinians also want the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders. [Emphasis added]

After CiF Watch complained to the Guardian readers’ editor – demonstrating conclusively that the pre-Oslo prisoners were all convicted of violent/terrorist-related crimes and can not honestly be characterized as “political prisoners” – the language in Sherwood’s report was revised to note that it is only the Palestinians who view them as “political prisoners.”

However, use of such euphemisms and biased terminology is only part of a larger problem involving the mainstream media outlets’ whitewashing of the terrorist acts and violent crimes committed by ‘Palestinian prisoners’, who often fail to mention the crimes at all or significantly downplay the degree of violence.

The following report on the media’s highly misleading (often ideologically motivated) coverage of the ‘Palestinian prisoner’ issue includes data released by Israel’s Ministry of Justice on the pre-Oslo prisoners – detailed information which has been translated from the original Hebrew and is being published for the first time exclusively at CAMERA.

Visit CiF Watch.

IDF stymies Guardian’s Obsession with Conscientious Objector

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Conscientious objectors have been with us as long as there have been wars, and the fact that there are a few Israelis who claim this status in an attempt to exempt themselves from the state’s universal conscription is not at all surprising. Yet the story of one such objector, Nathan Blanc, seems to have especially captivated the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood.

Blanc is a Haifa resident who, in 2012, reported to the IDF induction center but refused assignment to an army unit due to his objections to Israeli policies.  Blanc has been imprisoned for a total of 177 days at a military prison (based on ten separate arrests for continuing to refuse to serve) before the IDF recently allowed him to do alternative non-military service instead.

Over a two month period, Sherwood has published three reports and over 1500 sympathetic words about Blanc’s case, including a piece yesterday about the decision by the IDF exemption committee “to allow Blanc to undertake a period of civilian service in lieu of a three-year stint in the army”.

sherwood

As my colleague Hadar Sela observed in a post about Sherwood’s previous report on Blanc, in contrast to the Guardian, the story has barely registered on the radar of the Israeli media, but has been “energetically promoted by a plethora of fringe far-Left Israeli [groups], including Amnesty International IsraelNew Profile, ‘Kibush‘ and…the anti-conscription group Yesh Gvul“.

In comparison, Sherwood only saw fit to devote one report on the lethal terrorist attack, in late April, on an Israeli man named Eviatar Borovzky – whose human rights were violated when he was stabbed to death by a Palestinian as he waited for a bus – and even that managed to refer to the victim in the pejorative, in both the text and in the strap line.

settler

The report also devoted a majority of the text to the unrelated IDF killing of a global jihad-affiliated terrorist in Gaza, with only 6 of 21 passages (encompassing 316 words) focusing on the murder of Borovsky.

We’ll of course never know how much additional coverage Sherwood would have devoted to the case of Nathan Blanc if the IDF didn’t allow him to opt out of regular military service, so whilst Israel’s Military Prison Number 6 has lost an inmate, it seems that Harriet Sherwood has lost an Israeli protagonist.

Visit CiF Watch.

The ‘Refugee’ Slated to Win ‘Arab Idol’

Monday, May 27th, 2013

The number of Palestinian Arabs whose residence was within the boundaries of historic Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, and lost their homes as a result of  Israel’s War of Independence, was, in 1949, estimated at 711,000.

The number of Palestinian Arabs still alive today who were personally displaced by the war is now as low as 30,000. 

However, UNRWA, an agency with an annual budget exceeding $650 million, tasked with caring for Palestinian “refugees”and only Palestinian “refugees,” counts descendants of those original 711,000 as “refugees”, and so puts the figure at over 5 million – a number which includes millions of Palestinian Arabs who are citizens of other Arab countries.

UNRWA’s strange logic is what inspired a component of the following headline, and accompanying text, in a Guardian story by Harriet Sherwood about a Palestinian who is poised to win Arab Idol.

Sherwood explains:

The golden voice of a young man from a Gaza refugee camp [Khan Younis] has enchanted viewers of Arab Idol, broadcast weekly to huge audiences across the Middle East, making him a favourite to win the final of the television singing contest.

Mohammed Assaf, 22, has won massive support from viewers enthralled by his rendition of traditional love songs and laments for the Palestinian cause. He has also succeeded in uniting Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank and the diaspora behind his efforts to win.

Assaf, who often performs wearing a traditional black-and-white chequered keffiyeh, is one of 12 finalists in the competition, broadcast by the Saudi-owned MBC1. Last year’s winner secured a lucrative recording contract and was presented with a car.

The Palestinian “refugee” swindle is but one of the many political derivatives from the ideologically inspired uncritical embrace of the Palestinian narrative which so often passes for serious journalism at the Guardian.

Mohammed Assaf - a Palestinian (born 42 years after the 1949 war) who lives in the Palestinian run territory of Gaza, in Khan Younis – is not, by any reasonable definition of the word, a refugee. And, the fact that Palestinians continue to hold the key to this immutable victim status illustrates a greater truth about the egregious abuse of ordinary language within the cognitive battlefields of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/the-refugee-slated-to-win-arab-idol/2013/05/27/

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