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August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Guardian’

Is the Word ‘Terrorism’ Anti-Muslim?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Our recent posts about the Guardian’s appalling use, on at least two separate occasions, of the term “political prisoner” to characterize violent Palestinian terrorists who murdered, or attempted to murder, innocent civilians weren’t exercises in rhetorical nitpicking.  Rather, our efforts to secure the definition of the term – which reasonable people intuitively understand as “those who are imprisoned for their political beliefs” – represents an attempt to fight back against the manipulation of language, in service of an extreme ideological agenda, by the Guardian and their fellow travelers.

Similarly, Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald’s ongoing war against the term terrorism, which most who are not influenced by the far-left understand broadly to refer to  “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents” (or some variation of this), should be understood as a broader battle against common sense and moral sobriety.

Here is a passage from his latest post in the Guardian’s “Comment is Free”, section on April 22, entitled “Why is Boston ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tuscon, and Columbine?”:

The word “terrorism” is, at this point, one of the most potent in our political lexicon: it single-handedly ends debates, ratchets up fear levels, and justifies almost anything the government wants to do in its name. It’s hard not to suspect that the only thing distinguishing the Boston attack from Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook and Columbine (to say nothing of the US “shock and awe” attack on Baghdad and the mass killings in Fallujah) is that the accused Boston attackers are Muslim and the other perpetrators are not. As usual, what terrorism really means in American discourse – its operational meaning – is: violence by Muslims against Americans and their allies.

Here’s another quote by Greenwald, in a post at Salon.com in 2011:

Terrorism has no objective meaning and, at least in American political discourse, has come functionally to mean: violence committed by Muslims whom the West dislikes, no matter the cause or the target. 

Similarly here’s what Greenwald wrote in a post at Salon.com from 2010:

The term [terrorism] now has virtually nothing to do with the act itself and everything to do with the identity of the actor, especially his or her religious identity.  It has really come to mean:  ”a Muslim who fights against or even expresses hostility towards the United States, Israel and their allies.

If we’re really going to vest virtually unlimited power in the Government to do anything it wants to people they call “Terrorists”, we ought at least to have a common understanding of what the term means.  But there is none.  It’s just become a malleable, all-justifying term to allow the U.S. Government carte blanche to do whatever it wants to Muslims it does not like or who do not like it (i.e., The Terrorists).  It’s really more of a hypnotic mantra than an actual word:  its mere utterance causes the nation blindly to cheer on whatever is done against the Muslims who are so labeled.

Greenwald is attempting to essentially proscribe the word “terrorism” as politically loaded, subjective, prejudiced – arguing that the urge we have to condemn such willful and intentional attacks against innocent civilians, by using such clear moral language, is necessarily compromised by a deep-seated racial animus.

First, it needs to be pointed out that Greenwald’s specific claim about the term’s “operational” use is easily refuted by the simple fact that the media, civil rights groups and federal authorities also refer to political violence which is not committed by Muslims, or Islamist groups, as “terrorism.”  Examples of groups the FBI labels terrorists, for instance, include violent anti-government right-wing groups,environmental and animal rights extremistsSovereign citizens movements, anarchist groupswhite supremacists - and even fringe extremists such as the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.

Greenwald’s mantra that terrorism is only used in reference to Muslims has no basis in fact.

Moreover, in addition to Greenwald’s specious implicit claim that use of the term “terrorism” is racially loaded, there is another factor involved – one which those on the Guardian-style left often try desperately to avoid acknowledging in their reports and commentaries:  That while, of course, the overwhelming majority of Muslims aren’t extremists or terrorists, empirical evidence regarding the disproportionate percentage of terrorist acts committed by those influenced by radical interpretations of Islam is undeniable.

The Guardian’s Continuing Obsession with Mordechai Vanunu

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

In 1985 Mordechai Vanunu left his job as a technician at Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona.  Before leaving, however, he stole several rolls of film about the facility, which he then used to help the U.K. Sunday Times write a story that purported to expose Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

Vanunu was convicted of treason and espionage in 1988 and was released after serving 18 years in prison.  After his release, he exclaimed that he was proud of what he did.

Vanunu is still subject to travel restrictions (and other limitations) as he continues to be considered a serious danger to Israeli security owing to the fact that he holds state secrets that have not yet been published and which he reportedly said he would reveal.  Israeli courts have upheld the legitimacy of the state’s concerns, ruling that Vanunu has not changed his ways and has “repeatedly violated their injunctions” by maintaining ties and contact with the media and other parties.

Naturally, Vanunu is something of a cause celeb at the Guardian, which has published no less than 75 separate pieces (reports and commentary) on the convicted Israeli felon, including an official editorial lauding him, entitled “In Praise of…Mordechai Vanunu.”

The latest Guardian entry is a boilerplate pro-Vanunu letter-to-the-editor entitled “Mordechai Vanunu’s Suffering,” April 19, and is signed by the usual cast of U.K. anti-Zionists, including several Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) “Patrons”: Tony Benn (PSC Patron), Ben Birnberg (War on Want), Julie Christie (PSC Patron), Jeremy Corbyn MP (PSC Patron), Kate Hudson (Stop the War Coalition), Bruce Kent (PSC Patron), and Roger Lloyd-Pack (who played Trigger in BBC’s “Only Fools and Horses”).

In a 2004 interview with Amy Goodman, published at the extremist site CounterPunch, Vanunu accused the Israeli government not only of unjustly imprisoning one man, but of “betraying all of humanity and the world.”

Is there really any mystery as to why Vanunu is so admired by the Guardian?

Visit CifWatch.

Does the BBC’s New Editor’s Jewishness Matter?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Lisa O’Carroll’s April 16 story in the Guardian reports on the appointment of James Harding (former Times editor) as the BBC’s new director of news and current affairs.

O’Carroll’s report includes the following passages:

Some of the Times’s anti-BBC leader columns may also come back to haunt Harding in his new job. In 2010, when hostilities between Murdoch and the BBC were at their height over the News Corporation’s bid to take over BSkyB, Harding ran an editorial accusing the corporation’s then director general Mark Thompson of “seeking to gain commercial advantages in league with News Corp’s rivals”.

Harding, who is Jewish, will also have to leave behind the pro-Israeli line of the Times. In a debate at the Jewish Community Centre For London in 2011, Harding said “I am pro-Israel” and that in reporting on the Middle East, “I haven’t found it too hard” because “the Times has been pro-Israel for a long time”. However, he also stressed the need for balanced news reporting and said he was also in favour of a Palestinian state.

The Editor’s Code of Practice (published by the Press Complaints Commission, the ‘independent’ regulatory body in the UK) which all editors and publishers in the UK are required to abide by, contains the following warning in their section on ‘discrimination’:

Details of an individual’s race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

Whilst O’Carroll’s contention that Harding will have to leave his “pro-Israeli line” behind now that he’s been appointed news director of the BBC is quite interesting in the context of the Beeb’s coverage of Israel and the Middle East, two particular questions come to mind:

Does O’Carroll’s decision to note that Harding is Jewish in the particular passage cited indicate she has already concluded that his religious affiliation is relevant in that it explains his ‘pro-Israeli’ views?

If that is not what O’Carroll is suggesting, in what other way, per the language in the PCC Editor’s Code, is Harding’s religion relevant to a story about his new position at the BBC?

Visit CifWatch.

Stop Labeling Judea and Samaria Residents ‘Illegal’

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

The Associated Press, one of the largest news agencies in the world, will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant” to describe those who migrate to a country in violation of their immigration laws, their Executive Vice President announced on Tuesday.

Their style guide will no longer permit the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person.  It will now only use of the word “illegal” to describe an action, such as “living in or migrating to a country illegally.”

It is believed that most of the 1400 U.S. newspapers which use A.P. will likely follow their decision on the use of such a loaded term and will, for instance, stop referring to the millions of unauthorized Latino migrants to the U.S. as “illegal”.

ABC reported the following:

…most of America’s top college newspapers and major TV networks, including ABC, NBC and CNN, have vowed to stop using the term. Nearly half of Latino voters polled last year in a Fox News Latino survey said that they find the term “illegal immigrant” offensive. A coalition of linguists also came together last year to pressure media companies to drop “illegal immigrant,” calling it “neither neutral nor accurate.”

Whilst many Americans are applauding the decision by A.P. as a victory for accuracy and diversity, we can only wonder whether serious news organizations – and the Guardian – will similarly drop the loaded and value-laden term “illegal settler” to characterize Jews who, consistent with the parameters of the Mandate for Palestine, live beyond the 1949 armistice lines (in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem).

A quick search of the Guardian’s site shows a few references to such ‘illegal’ Israelis.Guardian film critic Philip French wrote the following in his Oct. 21, 2012 review of the documentary ’5 Broken Cameras’:

Behind this pair, but no less endangered, is Emad, recording some of the fiercest footage of assaults and atrocities on the West Bank that I’ve ever seen, as well as the arson wreaked on Palestinian olive groves by illegal Jewish settlers.

A July 24, 2012 story by Phoebe Greenwood on Palestinians facing eviction from ‘unauthorized’ homes in the southern Hebron hills included this variation of the charge:

Hila Gurani, the state’s attorney, wrote that the second intifada and the second Lebanon war exposed gaps in IDF preparation that requires more extensive training in firing zones, which the illegal Hebron residents are preventing

And, a report by Nicholas Watt about the call by some within the U.K. Labor Party to label products which are produced in Judea and Samaria included this passage:

Labour is opposed to boycotting Israeli goods but [Yvette] Cooper believes consumers should be informed whether products are produced by illegal settlers.

Moreover, a Google search using the words “illegal Israeli settlers” turns up 727,000 hits, and included references to the proscribed Jew in many “mainstream” publications. (Obviously, another variation of these specific words, in a different order, would likely produce further examples).

The greater implications of the A.P.’s decision are even more fascinating. If, for instance, we use A.P.’s logic as a guide, and only use the term “illegal” to describe an action, shouldn’t the Guardian and other sites stop referring to Jewish communities and homes in places like Ariel, Ma’ale Adumim and eastern Jerusalem as “illegal”?  If so, we might one day look back at the ubiquitous use of such subjective terminology (there were more than 5,000 references to “illegal settlements” at the Guardian’s site) as an embarrassing chapter in their paper’s history.

Whatever the Guardian editorial position on the desirability of a future Palestinian state which may include most of Judea and Samaria, we can hope that they’ll catch up with the times, heed their liberal calling and stop labeling – in one manner or another – hundreds of thousands of Jews residing within the boundaries of their historic homeland as “illegal.”

Visit CifWatch.com.

How the British Media Covered Omar Misharawi’s Death

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
We recently noted that on March 12 the Guardian’s media blogger Roy Greenslade corrected his erroneous Nov 15 report (a day after the start of the Gaza war) that an Israeli missile killed the 11-month old son of BBC Arabic journalist Jihad Misharawi, Omar, as well as Jihad’s sister-in-law. (Misharawi’s brother also later died of wounds suffered in the blast.)

Greenslade, as with journalists at numerous other news outlets over the past week, noted in his new report that on March 6 the U.N. issued an advance version of its report on the war which concluded that Misharawi was likely killed by an errant Palestinian missile, not by the IDF. (This information in the report was first discovered by Elder of Ziyon, who also was one of the few bloggers who critically examined initial reports in the MSM blaming Israel for Misharawi’s death.)

Additionally, the Guardian published an A.P. report on March 12, ‘U.N. report suggests Palestinian rocket killed baby in Gaza,’ which went into detail about the new information which contradicted the “widely believed story behind an image that became a symbol of what Palestinians said was Israeli aggression.”

Thus far, the Guardian still hasn’t corrected a Nov. 15 report by Paul Owen and Tom McCarthy, ‘Gaza Twitter war intensifies over pictures of infant casualties‘, which included the heartbreaking photo of Misharawi as well as the following text:

Pictures emerged of BBC cameraman Jihad Misharawi’s 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed on Wednesday during an Israeli attack [emphasis added]. Misharawi’s sister-in-law also died in the strike on Gaza City, and his brother was seriously injured.

Though the damage done by the now iconic image of Misharawi ‘clutching his slain child wrapped in a shroud‘ can not be ameliorated by even the clearest retractions, it’s important nonetheless that the media be held accountable to report new information which comes to light contradicting their previous version of events.

Whilst you can of course find out how the BBC covered the news at CifWatch’s sister site, BBC Watch, here’s a quick round-up of how others in the British media performed:

The Telegraph. On Nov. 15, the Telegraph published ‘Baby son of BBC worker killed in Gaza strike‘ which included the photo of Misharawi, and this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. Mr Misharawi’s brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

Additionally, a Nov. 15 Telegraph Live Blog post on the Gaza war included this passage:

Jihad Misharawi, who is employed by BBC Arabic, lost his 11-month-old baby Omar. His brother was also seriously injured when his house was struck in the Israeli operation and his sister-in-law was killed.

Corrections: None.

Daily Mail. On Nov. 15, the Daily Mail published a sensationalist piece by David Williams, titled ‘What did my son do to die like this?’Anguish of BBC journalist as he cradles the body of his baby son who died in Israeli rocket attack on Gaza‘, which included multiple photos of Misharawi with his baby and the following passages:

“Tiny Omar…died after an Israeli airstrike on Hamas militants in Gaza.

Masharawi had arrived at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital after Omar suffered severe burns in an airstrike that sent shrapnel tearing into his home killing a woman and leaving his brother and uncle critically injured.

Corrections: None.

Spectator. David Blackburn published a piece titled ‘Israel’s public relations problem‘ which included the image of Misharawi with his baby, as well as the following passage:

The front page of today’s Washington Post shows a picture of the BBC’s Jihad Masharawi holding his dead 11-month-old son, an innocent victim of Israeli action against Hamas’ paramilitary targets following months of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilians in southern Israel*

Corrections: The piece has now been updated, per the asterisk, and includes the following at the bottom:

*Since this article was published, a United Nations investigation has found that the incident described by the Washington Post was caused by the shortfall of a rocket fired by Palestinian militants at targets in Israel.

The Sun. On Nov. 15 The Sun published ‘The Innocents: Beeb journalist’s son dead, another hurt..babies hit as Gaza war looms,’ by Nick Parker, which included a photo of Misharawi and his baby, and this passage:

Omar was one of at least 15 Palestinians killed in air strikes as Israel retaliated over the Hamas missiles.

Corrections: None.

The Foreign Media’s ‘Rightward Shift’ Never Happened

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Almost final results from Israel’s Central Election Commission show that the Guardian mantra – parroted by nearly every commentator and reporter who’s been providing ‘analysis’ on the Israeli elections – warning of a hard and dangerous shift to the right will prove to have been entirely inaccurate.

In the final days before the vote, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood seemed certain that the elections would bring “a more hawkish and pro-settler government,” and Guardian Middle East Editor Ian Black warned that “Netanyahu [was] poised to…head a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before.”

Rachel Shabi predicted that Israel would elect “the most right-wing government in its history“, while Jonathan Freedland expressed gloom that diaspora Jews would have to watch “the centre of gravity… shift so far rightward [in Israel] that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

However, based on preliminary reports, not only does it appear that there has been absolutely no rightward shift, but the makeup of the next Knesset may be slightly more left than the current one.

While in 2009 the right-wing bloc bested the center-left bloc by 65-55, the results of this election show that the new Knesset will have a narrower (61-59) right-bloc advantage.

The top three parties will be Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu with 31 Knesset seats, the centrist Yesh Atid with 19, and the leftist Labor Party with between 16-18. The rightist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in fourth and will have 12, while Shas, the ultra-orthodox party, came in fifth with 11.

Some Israeli commentators are already predicting that Binyamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a centrist or even a right-center-left coalition.

Though the final results aren’t expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday, a few things are certain:

The Guardian and other foreign media invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching dangerously towards the right.

They got it completely wrong.

Visit CifWatch.

The Press Calls Israel Right-Wing, But Gives a Free Pass to Jordan

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Those of us who live in the liberal Jewish state have become accustomed to suffering through the steady stream of unhinged, if predictable, stories in the Guardian – as well as in the mainstream media – warning ominously of Israel’s dangerous political lurch to the right.

The Guardian’s Jonathan Freedland (one of the more sober Guardian journalists) was the most recent Guardian contributors to warn of ”Israel’s pronounced shift to the right, but such warnings, with varying degrees of hysterics, have been advanced continually - with several CiF contributors even evoking the risible specter of an Israeli descent into fascism.

The relative media blackout (outside a few Jewish and Israeli sources) about recent news from Jordan, on the other hand, demonstrating an extreme right political culture, is quite telling.

If you’re planning to visit the sprawling, modern metropolis of Amman, the ancient city of Petra, or one of the many beautiful seaside resorts in Aqaba, you may want to pack your bags taking into account the necessary cultural sensitivities.

The the Jordanian Tourism Ministry has recently issued a memo to tour operators warning Jewish visitors not to wear “Jewish clothing”, or pray in public places, in order to avoid possible antisemitic attacks.

Times of Israel reported the following:

“According to a copy of a ministry memo issued at the end of November, Amman instructed Jordanian tour operators to inform their Israeli counterparts to advise Israeli visitors not to wear “Jewish dress” or perform “religious rituals in public places” so as to prevent an unfriendly reaction by Jordanian citizens.

Israelis and Jews are typically advised not to wear outwardly Jewish clothes or symbols, and occasionally are met with trouble from Jordanian authorities when crossing the border.

Earlier this year, six Israeli tourists were assaulted in a market in southern Jordan after vendors were angered by their traditional Jewish skullcaps.

The six men and women arrived at a market in the town of Rabba, 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the capital Amman, when one of the vendors identified the tourists as Israeli due to mens’ skullcaps, which “provoked the sensibilities of the vendors,” independent daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm reported.”

Yes, those “sensibilities”.

Now, remember that the Jewish population of Jordan is literally zero, and while the phenomenon of antisemtism without Jews is not unique to Jordan the mere ubiquity of such irrational anti-Jewish racism certainly shouldn’t render it any less abhorrent.

Further, while Israel’s progressive, democratic advantages in the Middle East are self-evident, and definitively documented, Jordan is consistently given one of the worst scores on human rights by the respected organization, Freedom House. In addition to the state’s systemic abrogation of political rights (such as severe restrictions on political expression and the media), an even more remarkable and under-reported violation of democratic norms relates to the Kingdom’s treatment of a much discussed group: hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are still denied the right to vote.

So, if, according to the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, Likud-Beiteinu represents a “right-wing electoral alliance”; the Jewish Home party is an “extreme right-wing nationalist,” how should reasonable political observers characterize the political center of gravity in a neighboring state which denies basic civil rights, creates an apartheid like system for its Palestinians, and is so infected with a Judeophobic culture that the government had to issue a warning to Jewish visitors not to engage in Jewish prayers, wear Jewish symbols, or even wear “Jewish clothes”?

Can we fairly characterize Jordanian political culture as dangerously reactionary, racist, extremist, and ultra, ultra, ultra far-right?

Of course, the Guardian’s Jordan page has absolutely nothing by any of its liberal reporters or commentators warning of the nation’s dangerous lurch to the extreme right abyss.

Could it be that most journalists within the mainstream media – and at the Guardian – fail to hold Arab states accountable to the same moral standards as they do the Jewish state?

Of course, such an ethnically and religiously based disparity in journalistic critical scrutiny would be racist, wouldn’t it?

Visit CifWatch.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/cifwatch/the-press-calls-israel-right-wing-but-gives-a-free-pass-to-jordan/2013/01/10/

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