Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's a bird; it's a plane; it's Ultra-N Man!

Our desktop dictionary defines an ultranationalist as: one who has extreme devotion to or advocacy of the interests of a nation, especially regardless of the effect on any other nations.
This is how Reuters correspondents systematically characterize Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman (when they are not referring to him as "fiery").  It is, of course, a form of name calling, a well-worn propaganda device intended to slap down a public figure with a cheap label and thus elicit a negative emotional reaction to that person from an unsuspecting audience.

Jerusalem Bureau Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller continues the Reuters tradition in a story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's response to comments made by Lieberman regarding Israel's relations with Turkey and prospects for a peace deal with the Palestinian Arabs:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to keep his coalition intact before a vote this week on Israel's budget, has opted to play the diplomat in a flare-up with his fiery foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman.
Commentators accused Netanyahu of kowtowing to the ultranationalist Lieberman at the expense of Israel's international image, but agreed a coalition crisis had been averted for now and predicted the budget would pass.
In blunt public remarks on Sunday, Lieberman said Israel would not apologize to Turkey over the killing of nine Turks by Israeli commandos during a raid on a Turkish ship trying to break a Gaza blockade in May.
Pouring scorn on the stalled peace process with the Palestinians, Lieberman told a meeting of Israeli diplomats a permanent peace agreement was impossible and the best option would be "Plan B," a long-term interim accord.
The comments seemed at odds with Netanyahu's stated desire to patch up relations with Turkey and U.S. efforts to keep alive a peace effort that has foundered on his refusal to extend a partial freeze on Jewish settlement building in the West Bank.
Note how Heller attempts to shift responsibility for his own editorializing with a reference to anonymous "commentators" allegedly doing the name calling, a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism.  Heller then editorializes further, characterizing Lieberman's suggestion for an alternative interim accord with the Palestinians as "pouring scorn on the stalled peace process".  We've not seen Heller employ similar language to describe recent talk by Palestinian leaders of their "Plan B".

Heller blames Netanyahu, and by implication, Israel, for the failure of peace talks by pointing to the expired ten-month building moratorium for Jews in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") when it was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who filibustered on negotiations for over nine months and walked away entirely when the moratorium ended in September.

Only in the Orwellian realm of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau can Palestinians like Abbas, Saeb Erekat, and Nasser Al Kidwa, who demonstrate the most uncompromising positions on national rights, be caressed as political "moderates" and "pragmatists" while Israelis like Lieberman are blackened with the "ultranationalist" tag.

Friday, December 24, 2010

"Nearly 500,000 Jews live on land captured by Israel in the 1967 war"

The above quote is from a Reuters story written by Mohammed Assadi and Ori Lewis.  We cite it because it is typical of the many propaganda mantras Reuters correspondents embed in their stories to portray Jews in a negative light and advance Palestinian Arab interests.

While it is true that approximately 500,000 Jews live in the eastern portion of Jerusalem and the last unallocated portion of the Palestine Mandate, in its relentless effort to persuade its audience that Jews are interlopers and colonizers of Arab land, Reuters employs the language of conquest to "explain" how the Jews got to living there.  Per Reuters' vision you see, there happened to have been a war in 1967 fought by Israel -- against whom and for what reasons, we are never told -- that resulted in Israel capturing land purportedly the property of the Palestinian Arabs and the subsequent illegal influx of 500,000 Jewish settlers to the area.

In none of its stories on the matter, does Reuters inform its readers that Jews had settled the same area over three-thousand five hundred years ago; that Jews built Jerusalem as a sovereign and sacred city; that the area was repeatedly invaded and conquered by other tribes and nation-states with many millions of Jews killed and ethnically cleansed; that despite this long and bloody history, Jews maintained a continuous presence on the land for over three millennium culminating in their constituting a majority of the Jerusalem population by 1840; that both the League of Nations and the United Nations granted Jews the right, under international law, to settle anywhere in Palestine west of the Jordan River; that local Arab mobs ruthlessly sought to prevent Jews from exercising this right by perpetrating regular pogroms and massacres against the Jewish community; that the Arab states invaded the nascent state of Israel in 1947 in a declared war of annihilation successfully conquering the remaining portion of Palestine and the Old City of Jerusalem from whence the Jews were once again ethnically cleansed; and that the Jews only once again, recovered their rights and land in the area following that "1967 war" instigated by the Arabs in yet another attempt to eradicate the state of Israel.

Provided with the historical facts rather than peremptory propaganda, Reuters readers would be much better served and able to understand and assess the Middle East conflict in an informed and non-coercive manner.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


As we have previously noted, Reuters documents the Middle East conflict as if it were a one-sided tennis match.  The Palestinian Arabs launch a rocket or mortar attack on an Israeli village and Reuters frequently fails to cover the story unless and until Israeli forces retaliate.  When the latter occurs, you can be sure that Reuters will be the first wire service out of the gate with full coverage and an unambiguous headline akin to:
Israel bombs Gaza tunnel near Egypt
Now compare the above with the following headline appearing in a story written by Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton about a Palestinian rocket exploding within 30 feet of an Israeli kindergarten and nursery schools causing injury to a teenage girl:
Kindergarten near-miss highlights Gaza risks
Note how Hamilton willfully obfuscates the facts, failing to cite either the nature of the incident (a rocket attack) or the perpetrator (Palestinians).  It's not until the 8th paragraph down in his story that Hamilton finally gets around to informing readers that the attack was claimed by the Palestinian group Army of Islam, although even here, Hamilton refuses to use the word "Palestinian".  Indeed, Hamilton immediately follows this apparently inconsequential piece of information identifying the perpetrator with the unsupported and ridiculous assertion that:
Hamas leaders have tried to curb rocket fire at Israel from Gaza in recent years, but smaller groups continue to carry out attacks.
Hamilton has been conducting PR on behalf of the Palestinians for years and here he does the same for the genocidal Hamas.

Finally, note the embedded photo which depicts not the subject of the story, the Palestinian rocket attack on an Israeli kindergarten, but the damage resulting from the retaliatory Israeli strike in Gaza.

All in a day's work for the propagandists at Reuters.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reuters cites Saudi-funded HRW to demonize Israel

As we noted here, Reuters correspondent Ori Lewis follows the company line when it comes to systematic violations of the Reuters Handbook and the use of propaganda devices in an effort to delegitimize Israel.

In his latest project, Lewis trumpets his story with the headline:
Israel deprives Palestinians in West Bank 
Lewis has a nasty habit of asserting claims from NGOs, particularly discredited NGOs, as fact and only later in his stories explaining that these are merely disputed claims.  And the Reuters correspondent apparently never does his own fact-checking on these claims, nor does he provide readers with background material on the NGO making accusations which might otherwise cast doubt on the credibility of the organization behind the claims.

So, we'll do Lewis' job for him.

The NGO cited by Lewis in this story is Human Rights Watch (HRW) which, as we have documented, solicits and receives a portion of its funding from groups and nation-states which are openly hostile to Israel's very existence.  HRWs own founder, Robert L. Bernstein, has condemned the NGO for irrational anti-Israel bias.  HRW directors were last seen objecting to Israel's call for full transparency with respect to their funding sources.

Now let's have a look at the material aspect of HRWs claims against Israel:
"Israeli policies in the West Bank harshly discriminate against Palestinian residents, depriving them of basic necessities while providing lavish amenities for Jewish settlements," the New York-based organization said...
... Carroll Bogert, a spokeswoman for the group, said Israel was carrying out "systematic discrimination merely because of (Palestinians') race, ethnicity and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools and access to roads."
These are serious charges which, as a purportedly objective reporter for the largest news agency in the world, Lewis should be investigating rather than simply parroting.  Had he done so, Lewis would have discovered (and presumably reported) that first, Israel is not responsible for providing "basic necessities" to Palestinians living in the "West Bank".  Those Palestinians classified as "refugees" are supported by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) which is funded to the tune of over a billion dollars annually, coming mainly from US and European taxpayers.  Indeed, the Palestinians receive more aid money than any other refugees in the world.  As well, Palestinians not classified as refugees are the responsibility of the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and work for their basic necessities, as do Israelis.  The government of Israel is not "depriving" anyone.

With respect to infrastructure like electricity and water, Israel has spent billions of dollars since 1967 building and supplying electrical power and clean drinking water to both Jewish and Arab communities in the territory.  That HRW cites a single Arab village with 150 denizens which cannot apparently get connected to the electrical grid (for security reasons) is hardly evidence of, "systematic discrimination... because of (Palestinians') race, ethnicity and national origin", which after all, is the same as that of millions of other Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank who are connected to the power grid.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Reuters relocates capital of Israel

On AlertNet, "the world's humanitarian news site", Reuters provides news along with free and unfettered story publication rights for hundreds of NGOs, many of which are partisan and heavily politicized.  Today, we noticed that the Reuters AlertNet website has recently undergone a face-lift and on the profile page for Israel, we learn that the capital of the country is... wait for it... Tel Aviv.

Related country profile

Capital:Tel Aviv
Currency:Shekel (ILS)
Time zone:GMT +2

Of course, Israel's capital city is not Tel Aviv, but Jerusalem.

Perhaps Reuters Jerusalem Bureau is actually in Tel Aviv as well.

UPDATE DECEMBER 16, 2010: Reuters has had a sudden change in heart and Israel's capital is now indicated as "in dispute".

Word has it that Reuters considers Israel's existence as falling into the same category.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Police brutality!

Reuters often accompanies its stories on the Middle East conflict with video footage, carefully edited and narrated to influence its audience to adopt the news agency's political views.  Then again, Reuters sometimes misses the opportunity to provide exemplary video when it might otherwise distract from the agency's biased messaging.  Take for example, this story by Reuters correspondent Jihan Abdalla on Palestinian Arab children throwing rocks at Jews driving through the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem.  Abdalla reports that:
Seemingly heedless of the risk they pose their targets and themselves, the youngsters also goad local Israeli security forces determined to keep order...
There are no flags, posters or political slogans in these encounters, but a lot of youthful bravado suggesting that even juveniles feel they must confront "the occupying power."...
In October, tensions spiked again after a Silwan settler leader -- who later said he had simply panicked -- drove his car right into a group of rock-throwing boys, knocking one over.
What Abdalla doesn't tell her readers, is that in many cases, these "youngsters" are being groomed and directed to engage in rock-throwing by adults, often members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.  And that reporters and photographers are being invited to record the incidents so as to provide propaganda fodder for the Palestinians.  Have a look at this independent documentary video of the incident Abdalla describes above:

Abdalla then attempts to make the case (with lots of help from B'Tselem) that Israeli police are being too tough on Palestinian minors by detaining and handcuffing them following such incidents.  Afforded video evidence however, Reuters' audience might come away with a somewhat different view.

Parroting lies

In an Op-ed "Analysis" on the latest failure in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, Reuters curly-haired perfume peddler, Crispian Balmer uncritically quotes former Yasser Arafat propaganda minister, Yasser Abed Rabbo on the failure of the United States to broker a deal between the warring parties:
If the United States could not get Israel to halt settlement "for a limited period," how would it be able "to make Israel accept a balanced solution on the foundation of international resolutions and the two-state solution?," he asked.
But of course, the US did get Israel to formally halt settlement building in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") for ten months and, on a de facto basis, for the same ten months in Jerusalem as well.  The Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, refused to enter into negotiations with Israel based on that unilateral and unprecedented concession until three weeks remained in the moratorium.

How about the notion then, that Israel has failed to "accept a balanced solution on the foundation of international resolutions and the two-state solution"?

Well, let's see...

Israel's Prime Minister accepted the internationally-sanctioned "two-state solution" in June of 2009.

And Israel has, for over 43 years, repeatedly demonstrated its good faith efforts to comply with international resolutions by withdrawing from captured land and attempting to return captured land while securing for itself "territorial integrity and political independence" along with the "right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force" as stipulated by UNSC Resolution 242.

So Rabbo's statement is false, and Balmer merely parrots when his lede suggests he should be analysing.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Reuters cannot find Sanremo on the map

In addition to being a lovely holiday resort on the Italian Riviera, Sanremo is the spot where Allied Powers of World War I met in 1920 to disposition (not really a verb but apropos here) the territory of the vanquished Ottoman Empire.  The resolution arising from the San Remo conference called for the recognition of sovereign states of Syria and Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) and a Jewish national home in Palestine.  It mandated that:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
The San Remo resolution became international law on July 24, 1922 when it was adopted by the League of Nations and subsequently grandfathered across to the League's successor, the United Nations. 

In 1947, the British abandoned their responsibility as Administrator of the Palestine Mandate and the UN recommended partition of the remaining land (78 percent had already been given away to the Hashemite Arabs) between Jews and Arabs living west of the Jordan River.  The Arabs violently rejected partition and the rest, as they say, is history.

For Tom Perry and the babes at Reuters however, history only begins in 1967:
Israel has settled the territory extensively since 1967, when it captured and occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The international community for the most part deems the [Jewish] settlements illegal. 
Settler leaders claim a biblical right to the West Bank.
It is undoubtedly true that many Jewish settlers in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") feel the 3,500 year history of Jewish civilization and culture in the territory, as documented in both the Bible and the archaeological record, well-qualifies them to live there.  At the end of the day however, it is contemporary international law, embodied in San Remo and still on the books at the United Nations, which guarantees that right.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Every trick in the book

In a story on Israel's announcement of homes to be built in the community of Pisgat Zeev, Reuters correspondent Ori Lewis incorporates a variety of propaganda devices, deceptions, apologetics, racism -- oh, and a libelous information source -- to damn Israel in the minds of readers:
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Wednesday revealed plans to build new homes on West Bank land it has annexed as part of its Jerusalem boundaries, a move likely to further hamper any resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Lewis repeatedly violates the Reuters Handbook of Journalism in this piece by referring to the last unallocated portion of the original Palestine Mandate with its Arab-designated term, "West Bank" while failing to balance this with Israel's appellation for the disputed territory, Judea and Samaria.  He then goes a step further by employing the ahistorical and racist term, "Arab East Jerusalem", to describe the eastern portion of the city of Jerusalem abutting the community of Pisgat Zeev.

Lewis then scoffs:
Pisgat Zeev, founded 25 years ago, is one of its largest Jewish "neighbourhoods," as Israel refers to it, with some 50,000 inhabitants.
because Israel doesn't accept Reuters' utterly bizarre view that a community of 50,000 people living on land adjoining Jerusalem, an area the archeological record shows was a producer of wine and oil for use in the Jewish Temple in the city, is anything other than, (gracious!), a neighborhood.

Lewis continues:
Israel has insisted that building in the urban areas it annexed to Jerusalem following their capture in a 1967 Middle East war were never included in the freeze.
Why cast doubt with use of the heavily biased term "insisted"?  It's a matter of record that Israel's unilateral concession to halt residential building in Judea and Samaria was never going to include communities like Pisgat Zeev.

Of course, Reuters is always happy to cite the ostensibly neutral but in reality, wickedly libelous "rights group" Peace Now to serve up an unsupported allegation:
A spokeswoman for the Israeli rights group Peace Now, which monitors Jewish settlement building, has estimated that settlers hold some 13,000 construction permits throughout the West Bank issued before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the 10-month freeze a year ago.
And as we noted in our post just below, somehow, someway, Israel is always to blame for the Palestinian failure to make peace:
Netanyahu announced the freeze to coax Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas into direct talks but these ground to a halt after Israel refused to extend it despite diplomatic pressure from its main U.S. ally.
No mention that it took nine and a half months of the ten-month freeze for Abbas to finally agree to come into the negotiating tent and only two weeks later for him to pack up the tent.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fisher-Ilan: Israel always to blame

Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan is always certain of two things: 1) astrology holds the key to her future, and 2) Israel is to blame for Palestinian intransigence.

Absent a crystal ball, we cannot confirm or deny #1 above but it is child's play to demonstrate the fatuousness of #2.  Here's Fisher-Ilan in a transparent bid to make Israel the scapegoat for the breakdown in negotiations with the Palestinians:
The negotiations which President Barack Obama said at their launch were destined to reach a final peace deal within a year, faltered when a temporary Israeli settlement freeze expired late in September and Israel refused to renew it.
No.  Negotiations faltered when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to continue with them after squandering nine and a half months of the ten-month settlement freeze originally conceded by Israel.

For Fisher-Ilan, the facts on Israel's side are always mere "accusations":
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under pressure from a pro-settler ruling coalition to reject another freeze, has accused the Palestinians of setting preconditions for peace talks, which they had not done in the past.
Hmmm... let's see:

Palestinians had, for years, negotiated with Israel while Jewish building was taking place in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and its capital city Jerusalem.  Check.

Palestinians now refuse to negotiate with Israel unless Jewish building in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and its capital city Jerusalem is quashed.  Check.

Notwithstanding Fisher-Ilan's incessant efforts to infantilize the Palestinians and demonize the Israelis, the facts speak for themselves.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Reuters shocked to the core with revelation that Abbas supported Israel in Gaza War

In the hundreds of stories Reuters has run on the 2008-09 Gaza War between Israel and Hamas, the news agency has always gone to extraordinary lengths to protect the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president Mahmoud Abbas from claims that they supported and assisted Israel in its war efforts.  This, despite reports published in the main stream media as long ago as February of 2009 that the PA knew about the impending Israeli attack and indeed, "cooperated with the Israelis in hunting down Hamas commanders":
Hamas officials say their allegation is based on interrogation of suspected [Fatah] collaborators accused of helping to pinpoint Hamas' hideouts and weapons caches for Israeli targeting. The objective, say Hamas officials, was to help Israel decimate the Islamists in the hope of reestablishing Fatah control in Gaza.
Now come the WikiLeaks documents confirming what Time Magazine had reported almost two years ago: that Abbas' Fatah party had both knowledge of, and participated in the Israeli effort to rid Gaza of its Hamas rulers.  Yet, Reuters correspondent Dan Williams is simply shocked to the core with the "news":
But for Abbas to be portrayed as having known in advance about the opening aerial assault, timed for a mid-morning on a Saturday in order to hit the maximum number of Palestinians and Hamas arsenals in Israel's target book, was unprecedented.
Of course, the Palestinian Authority is denying the WikiLeaks disclosure:
"Nobody consulted with us, and that is the truth," chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said. "Israel doesn't consult before going to war," he said.
And one could never doubt the veracity of Saeb Erekat.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Orwellian terms of war

Language is everything to the propagandist.  Symbols are carefully selected and manipulated to deceive and lead the audience to swallow the propagandist's message.  No contrary message is offered or tolerated.

Take for example, Reuters lexicon of war.  Whereas Reuters has a policy strictly proscribing use of the word terrorism except when quoting directly from a source (unless the source is Israeli, in which case Reuters takes the liberty of censoring the quote), the agency has no compunction adopting Arab rhetoric intended to conceal and sanitize their genocidal mission and methods:
Armed struggle has a powerful appeal among the inhabitants of the occupied territory, where the rival Fatah faction has been extending influence since a civil war with Hamas in 2007, [Hamas leader Khaled] Meshaal told a conference in the Syrian capital...
"The resistance is facing huge challenges, especially in the West Bank," Meshaal told a meeting of leading pro-Hamas politicians, writers and thinkers opposed to the U.S.-supervised peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.
"Our inalienable rights are threatened with extinction if the scene in the West Bank does not change by launching the resistance against the Israeli occupation and the settlements," he added...
Meshaal, who lives in exile in Syria, said only armed resistance would keep the Palestinian cause alive, despite Western aid to Abbas and his forces.
Note how Reuters correspondent Khaled Yacoub Oweis serves as a mouthpiece for Meshaal, citing full, detailed quotes including the use of incongruous language drawn from WWII (resistance) absent quotation marks around that term.  Oweis himself, parrots the term resistance sans inverted commas.

The story contains no explanation of, or reference to the Hamas Charter with its explicit call for the liquidation of Israel and the genocide of all its Jewish inhabitants.  For Oweis, this would undermine his effort to portray the Palestinians as a people simply seeking their national rights and Hamas, their champion.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Racism rampant@Reuters

As we've noted dozens of times, Reuters correspondents have an obvious and odious agenda which manifests relentlessly in their stories on the Middle East conflict.  That agenda is to use the bully pulpit as the largest news agency in the world to advance Palestinian Arab interests by delegitimizing Israel and Jewish claims to the city of Jerusalem and surrounding territory.

Their primary technique in furthering that agenda is propaganda, which Smith (1989) defines as any conscious attempt "to influence the beliefs of an individual or group, guided by a predetermined end and characterized by the systematic use of irrational and often unethical techniques of persuasion".

Central to Reuters' efforts in this respect is to persuade its readers to accept the notion that Jerusalem is, was, and rightfully always should be, an Arab city.  And the most direct way to accomplish this is to hypnotically suggest Arab ownership by employing an epithet, repeatedly, when referring to the city.  As in Arab East Jerusalem.

That term originated following the Israeli-Arab war in 1947-48 and the Arab Legion's ethnic cleansing of the entire Jewish community from the city of Jerusalem.  A community whose ancestors founded the city over three thousand years ago, built its walls, roads, and Temples.  A community that represented the majority religio-ethnic group in the city from at least the 1840s in the modern era.  And a community that was forcefully pushed out, homes gutted, synagogues destroyed, and cemeteries desecrated.  All perpetrated by the Arabs to whom Reuters now attempts to grant ownership of the city.

In repeatedly referring to "Arab East Jerusalem", Reuters correspondents are thus endorsing ethnic cleansing of the Jewish community between 1948 and 1967 (the latter year in which Israel liberated the city following the Six-Day War).  Further, they are engaging in a willful deception -- a racist, willful deception -- to lead readers to believe that the eastern part of Jerusalem is by rights or tradition, exclusively Arab when in fact, this was only the case for a period of 19 years of a history stretching over three millennium. 

Now imagine the public outcry if a Reuters correspondent referred today to Rosewood Florida as "Caucasiantown"or identified Tulsa Oklahoma as "White South Tulsa" decades after African-Americans returned to their homes in these cities following violent riots and expulsion in the 20th century.

How long would that correspondent retain his Reuters press credentials?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reuters assumes its readers are idiots

Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi, whose reporting is accurate less often than a broken clock, trumpets for his audience:

Hamas would honor referendum on peace with Israel

Then again, there is the fine print:
"We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees," [Hamas leader Ismail] Haniyeh said, referring to the year of Middle East war in which Israel captured East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
As noted on this site many times, there are no 1967 borders.  There are only Armistice Lines drawn in green ink following the Arab-Israeli war of 1948 demarcating the point where the Arab Legion and Israeli forces suspended fighting.   These Armistice Lines allowed Jordan to bifurcate and occupy the city of Jerusalem for 19 years, destroy synagogues, and pave the streets with Jewish headstones until Israel liberated and reunified the city in 1967.  This is what Hamas is accepting.

Haniyeh's statement is valuable however, for what it tells us about Reuters' attitude toward its readers.  Note that despite Reuters attempts ad nauseam, to maintain the fiction of two cities ("East Jerusalem", and presumably "West Jerusalem"), Hamas is more forthright, as well as accurate, in referring to the city it demands for the Palestinian Arab capital as simply "Jerusalem".

No sophistry or condescension here, two of Reuters specialties.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The curly-haired perfume peddler has another go

The last time we visited Reuters correspondent Crispian (curly-haired) Balmer (peddler of aromatic resins), he was exhausting the "D" entries in his thesaurus in an effort to sell us on the notion that the Palestinians are positively desperate for their own state -- even as he failed to acknowledge the simple truth that the Palestinians could have their purportedly longed-for state tomorrow if they would only accept UN resolution 181 which formally created a Palestinian Arab state and a Jewish state 63 years ago.

Balmer now tries his hand at some "analysis", Reuters parlance for an op-ed, dredging up a host of Reuters boilerplate propaganda in the process.  Focusing on the question of whether Israel's relationship with the United States is on the rocks, Balmer cites the reaction of Palestinian Arabs and Middle East diplomats to the incentives reportedly promised to the Israelis in exchange for their agreement to extend a building moratorium in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"):
The Palestinians scoff at the idea that the United States might be losing its ardor for Israel, saying the U.S. promise of inducements, including $3 billion worth of fighter jets, is evidence of the Jewish state's privileged status in Washington.
The enticements have also raised eyebrows in the United States, with analysts doubting the wisdom of offering Israel incentives to get it to introduce a temporary halt to settlement building that is deemed to be illegal by the World Court.
Note how Balmer tosses in as a red herring, the opinion of the World Court, something the analysts he cites do not actually mention and an opinion that is entirely advisory and therefore non-binding on the issue of the legality of Jewish settlements (League of Nations and United Nations resolutions permit Jews to settle anywhere in the original Palestine Mandate).

Balmer then rehashes the argument made back in April by his colleague at Reuters, Bernd Debusmann, that resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict is essential to American military interests in the Middle East and beyond:
At a deeper level, the on-going sense of uncertainty in Israeli circles is fueled by evolving U.S. military objectives.
General David Petraeus, commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, launched a debate in March when he said that Israeli-Palestinian tensions had had an "enormous" impact in the Muslim world where his troops were based.
Petraeus said the Middle East peace process had to keep moving forward to help the U.S. military position -- an assertion quickly challenged by Israeli rightists who denied any such linkage.
His stance explains why Obama has put enormous emphasis on restarting the stalled peace talks despite obvious pessimism on both the Palestinian and Israeli side, not to mention at home.
As we noted at the time, Debusmann conveniently omitted several items Patraeus indicated were far more critical to American interests than resolving the Israeli-Arab conflict, including for example, preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons which as we now know, thanks to WikiLeaks, has also been the priority for the Arabs themselves.

Moreover, Obama had been pushing madly for a Palestinian state long before Patraeus filed his report in March of this year (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas was the first foreign leader Obama phoned after taking office, and pressure from the White House to freeze Jewish settlements began publicly in May of 2009).  Thus, Balmer's suggested linkage between Patraeus' testimony and Obama's obsessive drive for a Palestinian state is specious.

The larger point, that US-Israeli relations may be suffering, is clear enough but the reason is also clear: this is the first American administration in over 40 years that has held peace negotiations between the Israelis and the Arabs hostage to an Israeli concession to completely halt building in its capital city.  A strategy that has failed to bring a Palestinian state and simultaneously alienated 97 percent of the Israeli public.

Now, that's something to fret about.

Monday, November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks reveals Reuters correspondents as Israel-hating propagandists, hacks

Well, the latest batch of WikiLeaks documents has been released and lo and behold, we learn that it is actually the Saudis that have, for years, been exhorting the United States to attack Iran and destroy its nuclear program.  This news, a revelation for some, completely vindicates Israel's contention all along that the Arab states view Iran, rather than Israel, as the threat to peace and stability in the region and makes a complete mockery of the literally hundreds of "news" stories and "analysis" pieces Reuters has run over the same period arguing otherwise.

Having been proven wrong a hundred times over, will Reuters executives step in to correct the agency's endemic anti-Israel culture and put an end to its propaganda machine?

We're not holding our breath.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is the Nazi calling the kettle black?

Formulated by Mike Godwin in 1990 following his observation that all online discussions inevitably degenerate into comparisons with the Nazis, Godwin's Law has become a popular adage in the internet age.  Simply stated, the rule suggests that as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

The same may be said of Reuters online reporting of the Middle East conflict.

The news agency is so maniacally obsessed with demonizing Israel and their correspondents pen so many patently anti-Zionist stories every month, it was inevitable that something off their wire would ultimately draw an explicit comparison between the Jewish state and Nazi Germany.

In a story on Israel's decision to establish a facility to house some of the more than 35,000 mainly-African migrants that have entered the country illegally in the last few years, Reuters bows to Godwin:
In a country sensitive to comparisons with Nazi concentration camps where Jews were killed, officials insisted the camp would be open. But they did not say how often the migrants assigned there would be allowed to come and go.
Unbelievable.  There is of course, absolutely no rational parallel between the holding facility Israel is contemplating and the Nazi concentration camps where Jews were systematically exterminated but Reuters editors Douglas Hamilton and Mark Heinrich nevertheless implant an odious suggestion linking the two.

Interestingly, Hamilton, who is of German extract and has previously demonstrated his singular contempt for Jews, reacted to a comment critical of one of his stories for Reuters in 2009 by wildly accusing the commenter of claiming he (Hamilton) was antisemitic.  Hamilton's accusation was false but the rabid hostility to Jewish nationalism on display in his stories over the last 16 months suggests that he is indeed antisemitic and his knee-jerk reaction to criticism, a reflection that he knows it.

Reuters giblets

Apologies for the brief hiatus in our posting; we have been traveling for the holidays and working to complete an academic study.  In our absence, the world continues to spin, as does Reuters, and there is always a rich illustration on hand of the latter.

In a story on the Israeli parliament approving legislation to require a two-thirds majority for any surrender of annexed land to the Arabs (or short of that super majority, a public referendum on the matter), Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan fabricates Middle East geography, violates the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, sanitizes Palestinian intransigence, resorts to name-calling, and ignores international law:
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as capital of a future state in the West Bank, but Israel sees it as a part of its undivided capital, and it could prove difficult to win Israeli public backing to relinquish even parts of the holy city.
Palestinian leaders have also said they would seek to hold a referendum on any deal with Israel. Trying to get an agreement with the Jewish state approved by a majority in Hamas-ruled Gaza or the Palestinian diaspora may also prove difficult.
As we've noted numerous times, there is no city of "East Jerusalem".  The term was fabricated following the invasion, occupation, and ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the eastern part of Jerusalem by the Arab Legion in the 1947-48 Arab-Israeli War.  Each time Fisher-Ilan tags the area as such, she is peddling a fiction and implicitly endorsing that act of ethnic cleansing.  (Even the Palestinian Authority makes no mention of "East Jerusalem" on its official website and genuine news agencies like the Associated Press do not capitalize the "e" when writing about the eastern district of the city).

Moreover, by exclusively referring to the larger geographical area with the Arab-designated term, the "West Bank", Fisher-Ilan is violating her agency's handbook of ethical guidelines which stipulates that Reuters correspondents provide readers with the dual names of any disputed territory -- in this case, Judea and Samaria.

Fisher-Ilan seeks to downplay Palestinian opposition to peace with Israel with the risibly understated suggestion that, "trying to get an agreement with the Jewish state approved by a majority in Hamas-ruled Gaza or the Palestinian diaspora may also prove difficult".  Yes, we've noted Hamas' inflexibility.

For a radical left-winger like Fisher-Ilan, we can almost understand her mild characterization of the Israeli Labour party as "left-of-center" but her personal political views do not excuse heavy-handed editorializing in referring to Jews who oppose surrendering land to Arabs pledged to destruction of the state of Israel as "far-right".  The same Jews who have rights to the land not simply by "biblical birthright" as Fisher-Ilan scoffs, but as mandated by international law -- something Reuters routinely ignores.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Card stacking and parroting reign at Reuters

Card stacking, or selective omission, is a propaganda technique which involves presenting only information that supports the propagandist's view and omitting information contrary to it.  Reuters continues to write the book on this technique.

In a story on Israel's decision to withdraw from the northern part of the village of Ghajar and the unhappy response by villagers to seeing their town divided, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton adopts and parrots Arab rhetoric to "explain" to readers why the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has refused to disarm:
Hezbollah, an ally of Syria and Iran, holds sway in southern Lebanon and has ministers in the Lebanese government. Resisting calls to disarm, it has cited Israel's troops in Ghajar as continued occupation of Lebanese soil that must be fought.
Those passive and anonymous "calls" to disarm actually come from the United Nations which in UNSC Resolutions 1559, 1680, and 1701 specifically require Hezbollah and all other extra-governmental groups in Lebanon to disarm.  The UN has also definitively demarcated the Israel-Lebanon border and declared the southern part of Ghajar as non-Lebanese.  So Israel is not occupying "Lebanese soil".

Reuters propagandist Hamilton will have none of these facts and refuses to disclose them to readers.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Palestinians intransigent; Reuters cheerleading

The Palestinian Arabs are now reported to be refusing to return to peace talks even if Israel were to agree to extend its previous unilateral and unprecedented concession to freeze Jewish building in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank").  This, following months of stalling by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during which time there were no negotiations and no progress on a possible settlement of the conflict.

Notwithstanding, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton continues to apologize and cheer for his home team:
U.S. President Barack Obama invested substantial political capital in persuading the Palestinians to resume direct talks with Israel in early September, after months of mediation.  
The Obama administration has now offered Israel diplomatic and defense inducements to renew the freeze for 90 days and give talks a chance, hoping [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu will tell Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas what size and shape of state he can agree to. 
But, true to their warnings, they [the Palestinians] halted negotiations when Netanyahu refused to extend the 10-month partial construction moratorium on Jewish settlements in the West Bank after it expired at the end of that month.
The Palestinians suspect they may be presented with plans for a shrunken, fragmented territory studded with Israeli settlements and without East Jerusalem as its capital.
Much of what appears above, comes straight out of Hamilton's tired Palestinian public relations playbook.  Netanyahu has already made perfectly clear the "size and shape of state he can agree to".  As has been widely acknowledged on both sides, Jewish communities straddling the 1949 Armistice Lines like Betar Illit, Maale Adumim, and Modi'in Illit will remain a part of Israel in any peace deal; the current Israeli government will not surrender Jerusalem to the Palestinian Arabs; and Netanyahu has called for a multi-year Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley.  90 days of further negotiations will not change these realities after nearly 20 years of Palestinian intransigence and terror.  Israel knows this; the Palestinians know it; and the Obama administration is quickly losing any illusions it may have had otherwise.

Only Douglas Hamilton and the other cheerleaders at Reuters continue to rattle their Palestinian pom-poms.

What Reuters doesn't want you to know

At RMEW, we devote most of our line-space to highlighting Reuters many breaches of its Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism, basic reporting errors, and intentional use of propaganda techniques to covertly and unethically influence its audience.  Just as instrumental to its anti-Israel, pro-Arab advocacy agenda however, is Reuters willful neglect of stories which, by any measure, are newsworthy and essential to an understanding of what is really going on in the Middle East.  We link to these articles from other sources in our right-hand column, "Reuters Censoring (links)".

Please have a read sometime to see what Reuters doesn't want you to know.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Partisanship and quotes

In the hands of an unethical news agency, the asymmetric use of quotation marks can be employed to subtly but powerfully manipulate the audience to adopt the agency's own political view.  In this story for example, note how Reuters correspondent Dan Williams speaks for the Palestinian Arabs (no citation) in suggesting that Israel is violating her "international obligations" by allowing Jews to build in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and that the Israeli government will only agree to extend its previous unilateral concession to freeze building in the territory with a "bribe" from the United States:
In private, Palestinian officials have expressed anger over U.S. incentives to get Israel to prolong the partial moratorium on Jewish settlement building, saying it effectively constituted bribing Israel to fulfil basic international obligations.
It's important to note that while the Palestinians may indeed believe this, it is Reuters' Williams that is actually doing the talking here.

By contrast, here's Williams citing the response of The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria ("settler leaders") to the possibility of a new building moratorium:
Settler leaders, who said acceptance of the proposal would represent "a fundamental collapse" of the government's integrity, called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue.
Where the party and its politics is anathema to Williams, the Reuters correspondent distances himself by applying a strict and truncated use of quotation marks to report on what has been said.

Readers, in the meanwhile, are led to believe they are getting an impartial, evenhanded presentation of the facts.

UPDATE 3:32 PM: As The Economist reports, it is just as likely that the Obama administration is blackmailing as "bribing" Israel to extend the building freeze.  What say you, Dan?

UPDATE 6:37 PM: Apparently, it is the Palestinian Authority which is looking for a bribe to fulfill basic international obligations.  Dan?  Dan...?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Brain damage affects both long-term and short-term memory

As we noted in our post below, Reuters correspondents suffer from selective amnesia when it comes to their collective inability to recall that Jews founded Jerusalem as their capital, resided in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") for over three-thousand years before the first Arab Muslim stepped foot onto the land, and were ethnically-cleansed from the area by Arab troops following the 1947-48 War.

Dementia is a terrible thing, and affects not only long-term memory but short-term memory as well.  In scores of recent stories, Reuters correspondents have been repeating the one notion that appears to have survived their loss of mental faculty:
The New York meeting comes as the United States works to revive talks that began in Washington on September 2 but were suspended by the Palestinians three weeks later when [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu refused to extend a 10-month limited building freeze in West Bank settlements.
Completely gone, is any recall of Netanyahu's offer to freeze settlements in exchange for Palestinian recognition, as the United Nations did 63 years ago, of the Jewish state of Israel.

That offer was made -- and rejected -- only 30 days ago but has already dissipated from the Reuters memory banks.

Selective amnesia

Reuters correspondents Ali Sawafta and Tom Perry offer us a history and geography lesson:
Close to 500,000 Jews live on lands captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war
This is another one of Reuters propaganda mantras intended to drum the Arab narrative into the minds of its readers, i.e., "Jews are newcomers and interlopers on the land".  Reuters correspondents never mention that thousands of Jews (actually two and a half times the number of Arab Muslims) lived in Jerusalem alone in 1948 -- before being ethnically-cleansed by Arab troops following the 1947-48 War.  This indispensable fact is never mentioned because it undermines Reuters political agenda and Palestinian Arab advocacy campaign designed to mislead its audience into believing that Jews have only been residing on the land since the 1967 War.

For Reuters, historical facts are an inconvenient thing and better left unremembered.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lip Service

In the last couple of days, Reuters has restarted its odious campaign to endorse the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Jerusalem by repeatedly employing the racist epithet "Arab East Jerusalem" when referring to the Old City and its surrounds.  That Jews founded the city, resided there for over three millennia, represented, in the modern era, the majority religio-ethnic group from the 1840s, and were forcefully driven out by the Arab Legion following the 1947-48 war, appears to provide no ethical dilemma for Reuters in its adoption of Arab rhetoric and racism.

Not only are Reuters correspondents dutifully parroting this rhetoric, they are now brazenly attempting to make it appear as if Israeli officials, including the Prime Minister, have adopted the same rhetoric:
Netanyahu countered censure of the latest Israeli project by noting that Jewish homes had gone up in Arab East Jerusalem during previous rounds of peace talks, without blocking them.
Netanyahu did not refer to, and almost certainly would never refer to, Jewish homes going up in "Arab East Jerusalem" but that doesn't prevent Reuters correspondent Patricia Zengerle and her editors Mark Heinrich and Anthony Boadle from fabricating the alleged statement.  This is of course, a violation of all professional and ethical standards in journalism and a specific transgression of both the Reuters Trust Principles and the agency's Handbook of Journalism.

While Reuters has no difficulty putting words in the mouths of others, a code of ethics for the agency is apparently just lip service.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The racists at Reuters

Yesterday, we noted Reuters use of the racist epithet, "Arab East Jerusalem" in two stories on Israel's announced planning of apartments in the Jerusalem suburbs of Har Homa and Ramot.  By characterizing the Old City of Jerusalem and its surrounds as "Arab", Reuters correspondents are adopting an ethnocentric vantage point in violation of the agency's social responsibility commitment and demonstrating their deep hostility for Jewish rights and claims.

As we've discussed previously, use of the epithet "Arab East Jerusalem" is akin to characterizing American communities which were ethnically cleansed of African-Americans following the Civil War as "Caucasianland" or referring to the Chicago Southside as "Negroidville".  It's ahistorical, deeply offensive, and patently racist. 

We stand witness to Reuters' racist, habitual, and damaging ethical lapses which continue to go uncorrected and unpunished by Reuters editors or Thomson Reuters executives even as the agency is able, via an immense customer base, to propagate its pernicious propaganda globally. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jeffrey Heller regresses with use of racist epithet

When we began posting back in August of 2009, we found that in an effort to delegitimize Jewish claims to Jerusalem, Reuters correspondents had been regularly resorting to use of the racist epithet, "Arab East Jerusalem" to describe the Old City and its surrounds.

The term "Arab East Jerusalem" originated with the invasion, conquest, and illegal occupation of the city of Jerusalem by Jordanian forces in the 1947-48 Arab-Israeli war and associated sacking and ethnic cleansing of the entire Jewish community from the area.  A Jewish community that had existed for over three-thousand years and represented, in the modern era, the majority religio-ethnic group in Jerusalem.

Following our many posts critical of Reuters' shameless use of the racist epithet, "Arab East Jerusalem", Reuters informally suspended use of the phrase in its Middle East reporting.

That has now changed.

In a story on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing a Jewish conference and encouraging Western nations to employ the threat of force to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons, Editor-in-Charge of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau, Jeffrey Heller, regresses to his racist colors:
In an announcement a day after Netanyahu met Biden, Israel's Interior Ministry said it was pushing ahead with plans to build 1,300 new apartments for Jewish families in Arab East Jerusalem.
Again, this represents an overt and racist effort by a senior journalist with the largest news agency in the world to delegitimize Jewish claims to the city in favor of Arab claims to the same.

As such, it is also a clear violation of the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

UPDATE 4:16 PM: Fellow Reuters racists Allyn Fisher-Ilan, Mohammed Assadi, Andrew Quinn, Ori Lewis, Ralph Boulton and Vicki Allen follow suit in another story.

The one-armed bandit strikes again

Reuters would not be Reuters without freedom from bias. We are a “stateless” news service that welcomes diversity into our newsrooms but asks all staff to park their nationality and politics at the door. This neutrality is a hallmark of our news brand and allows us to work on all sides of an issue, conflict or dispute without any agenda other than accurate, fair reporting. Our customers and our sources value Reuters for that quality and it is one we all must work to preserve.
That's an excerpt from Reuters Handbook of Journalism, the agency's ethical principles guide for its journalists.  It's also a standard that Reuters correspondents regularly flout.

In one of literally thousands of human interest stories on the Palestinians written over recent years, Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi reports on "stressed-out" Gazans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due primarily to -- yep, you guessed it -- Israel:
Take, for example, Samira, a 43-year-old schoolteacher and mother of five who lived too close to a Hamas security complex bombed repeatedly during Israel's December 2008-January 2009 cross-border offensive.  "I could not sleep for months -- no, for a year. I used to have dreams and even while awake I used to hear the sound of explosions when there was really nothing happening," said the woman, who did not want to be named.  "One of my children also wet his bed for several months," she added.  A trauma therapist should have been on the case -- and in this instance, was. But in Gaza, despite decades of Israeli incursions, economic blockades, deadly internal infighting among Palestinians and grinding poverty, dealing with trauma is something brand new -- and not a total success, either. 
Experts estimate that up to 15 percent of Gazans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but Western-style psychotherapy is a relatively recent arrival.
Gazans, for whom therapy comes after scraping a living, also are culturally wary of seeking outside help with emotional and mental problems. The Israeli blockade ensures the enclave remains dirt poor, and not in a position to pay for new health services.
Al-Mughrabi, who, like his colleagues at Reuters, never writes sympathetic human interest stories on Israeli Jews, once again ducks an easy opportunity to comply with the purported ethical principles of his employer by ignoring comparable suffering on the Israeli side of the conflict.  So, with about 5 minutes of research, we'll honor those published principles:
The stress and anxiety caused by years of living under the rocket threat have left their mark on the children of Sderot. A study presented at a conference in Jerusalem Monday revealed that 45% of the town's children under the age of six suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is expressed through developmental regression, sleeping disorders or aggression.

The data, which has been collected since 2003, also indicated that 41% of mothers and 33% of fathers are suffering from PTSD and often experience flashbacks from difficult experiences and avoid places that remind them of rocket attacks.
It's not difficult being an ethical journalist -- unless of course, your press credentials say "Reuters".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Reuters correspondents lie, cheat and steal: report

That's how Reuters correspondents typically promote a defamatory allegation about Israelis in their stories.  Take for example, this story by Ori Lewis:
Israeli interrogators abused Palestinians: report
(Reuters) - Israeli Shin Bet undercover agents have abused Palestinians during questioning at a detention center, some detainees have alleged in a report published on Tuesday by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.
Note how Lewis fires off a maligning accusation in the first part of both his headline and lede, asserting the abuse as fact, tacking on mitigating qualifiers only at the end of each sentence.  The objective and psychological effect of this rhetorical device is to initially hammer the reader into accepting an unproven assertion and only later to clarify that the assertion is merely a disputed claim. A claim, by the way, issued by an NGO with an anti-Israel agenda and a dubious record for veracity.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reuters gets it wrong -- again

In a story on the recent seizure of 13 containers of Iranian weapons by the Nigerian Secret Service, Reuters dips into its broken boilerplate bin and repeats a canard intended to cover for Iran's arming of Hamas:
Israel says its arch-foe Iran bankrolls attempts to ship weapons to the Gaza Strip by sea or land routes. Iran says its support for Hamas is diplomatic only.
As other news agencies have reported numerous times, Iran has publicly admitted providing hundreds of millions of dollars to Hamas for weapons purchases, and Iranian missiles have been launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

al-Mughrabi perpetuates the myth

As part of its ongoing Palestinian public relations campaign, Reuters stories typically characterize Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as a "moderate" even as the agency frequently refers to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "right-winger" and cabinet ministers like Avigdor Lieberman as "ultranationalists".  Beyond this political window-dressing however, is a more sinister effort to conceal from readers, the long-term objectives and strategy acknowledged by Abbas and the Palestinian leadership.

For example, in a story on a rally in Gaza attended by tens of thousands of Islamic Jihad and Hamas supporters, Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi writes:
President Abbas, however, rules out any return to violence against Israelis in pursuit of Palestinian statehood. He has said he will pursue diplomatic alternatives should the peace talks with Netanyahu collapse definitively.
This is actually false.  As Andrew McCarthy noted in 2008:
Abbas urged a throng of 50,000 Palestinians to re-aim their guns at the “occupation” (i.e., Israel) instead of turning them on each other: “Fatah,” he promised, “will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation…. We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation….”
And just last week, Abbas revealed that his current feint at negotiations with Israel is — like his mentor Arafat’s similar tactics — a strategic pause at best. He explained to a Jordanian newspaper that he was not pursuing “the armed struggle” at “this present juncture” only “because we can’t succeed in it.” He was quick to add, though, that “maybe in the future things will be different.”
We've not seen any evidence in the last two years, offered by Reuters or any other media source, that would suggest Abbas has altered his thinking in this respect one iota.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Omissions and distortions

On Wednesday of this week, there was a non-violent demonstration by a small group of Israeli Jews in the predominantly Israeli Arab community of Umm El-Fahm to protest against the Islamist movement in the country led by cleric Raad Salah.  As we've noted many times, Reuters regularly distorts or withholds information from its readers which, while contextually vital to an understanding of the story, reflects poorly on the Palestinian Arabs.  Douglas Hamilton's piece on the demonstration in Umm El-Fahm and associated violence by local Arabs represents another such example of Reuters skewed reporting.

Hamilton refers to the Jewish marchers with the pejorative label "ultranationalist" while sanitizing Salah and his activities by writing merely that he was:
jailed by an Israeli court for disorderly conduct and assault after scuffles with police who confronted protesters during engineering work near at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site in 2007.
There is no mention of Salah's extraordinarily vile history of incitement against Jews and the state of Israel.  In a sermon in 2007 for example, Salah told his Palestinian worshipers:
"They [the Jews] want to build their temple at a time when our blood is on their clothes, on their doorsteps, in their food and in their drinks. Our blood has passed from one 'general terrorist' to another 'general terrorist'... We are not those who ate bread dipped in children's blood."
Furnished with a more forthcoming account of the historical record, readers would have substantially greater insight into the rationale for the protest against Salah.

Hamilton also plays down Arab violence that accompanied the Jewish demonstration:
Israeli police on Wednesday fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Arabs who were protesting against a rally by ultranationalist Jews in an Israeli-Arab town. 
Riot police, some on horseback, charged about 200 Arabs who threw stones at them before retreating, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Ten masked Arabs were arrested.
Note how Hamilton obfuscates cause and effect, leading readers to believe that Israeli police initially assaulted Arab "protesters" who only then responded with stone-throwing.  This is not merely an inversion of reality, it is a willful perversion of the statement by Micky Rosenfeld who actually said:
“As soon as stones were thrown and policemen were attacked, officers responded, firing stun grenades and tear gas at the rioters. We can confirm that 10 masked suspects were arrested,” Rosenfeld said.
Along the way, Hamilton quotes Israeli Arab residents and MPs rationalizing Arab violence:
Ahmed Tibi, an Arab legislator in Israel's parliament, said the anger displayed by Umm el-Fahm residents was understandable. 
"The unified position of the people of Umm al-Fahm was to repel those (ultranationalists) and the reaction was a natural one to this incursion by the security forces," Tibi said.
While failing to mention that, as a reflection of Israeli democracy, the demonstration by the Jewish group was formally approved by the leftist High Court of Israel.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fabricating history

In a story about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touring a naval base outside Haifa, it takes only 29 words for correspondent Dan Williams to repeat a historical reconstruction, i.e., a fabrication Reuters has been running in its stories for the last five months:
Saying "I salute you," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the headquarters on Tuesday of Israeli naval commandos who killed nine pro-Palestinian Turks aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship in May.
As we've noted several times, there was absolutely no humanitarian aid aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ship where the violence took place.  Thus, Williams is either misleading his audience by using the word "aid" when he actually means political support and money, or he's lying.

Williams then employs a misleading euphemism to describe the passengers aboard who participated in the violence ("activists"), parrots another euphemism to sanitize the offensive nature of that violence ("resisted"), and ignores objective evidence in the form of video footage which categorically rebuts passenger claims:
Activists from the Mavi Marmara have confirmed they resisted the Israeli boarding party but denied provoking lethal violence.

Just another day at the Reuters office for Dan Williams.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crispian Balmer exhausts the "D" entries in his thesaurus

We would have said that the latest piece from Middle East newcomer Crispian Balmer (yes, that is actually his name) is, even by Reuters standards, egregiously biased but as we suggested in our commentary below, the media giant is now on its deathbed and clearly no longer has the will to honor its Trust Principles or enforce its Handbook of Journalism.

Thus, Balmer wants us to know that things are really, really grim in the Palestinian camp; the Palestinian Arabs are "dismayed", "disillusioned", "disappointed", "destroyed", "disgusted" -- oh, and "fed up" with years of failure in the peace process.  And that unless the United States comes down hard on the Jews to surrender their rights to live in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), the Palestinian Arabs will have to consider other options:
But Palestinians believe most countries now support their position and many argue that if these talks do indeed collapse, the time will have come to push the United Nations to recognize an independent Palestinian state, with or without Israeli consent.
What Balmer doesn't explain to his audience is that the United Nations General Assembly has already voted to grant the Palestinian Arabs a state as per UN Resolution 181, the Partition Plan, which also created a Jewish state -- Israel.  The problem for the Palestinians is that they rejected 181 when they went to war with Israel in 1947-48 and lost some of the territory on which their state would have been founded.  And they are still rejecting UN Resolution 181 by refusing to recognize a Jewish state.

Thus, in a story of 663 words, where Balmer feeds readers reams of Palestinian propaganda and violates the Reuters Handbook of Journalism by granting a mere 36 words for Israeli sources to counter the many fatuous Palestinian claims contained in his story, readers never learn that the Palestinians have had it in their power all along to achieve the Arab Muslim state they purportedly wail for -- if only they will agree to accept the Jewish state created by the same resolution.

So, click your heels together Mahmoud Abbas and repeat after me: there's no place like home... there's no place like home... there's no place like home...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Deep-pocketed Jewish donors"

That's how Reuters correspondent Crispian Balmer refers to Obama supporters who may be having, according to Balmer, second-thoughts about funding Democratic politicians due to Obama's policies on Israel:
Israeli media has also reported that deep-pocketed Jewish donors have been reluctant to fund the Democrats this time around and analysts doubt whether Obama will risk antagonizing such a vital constituency ahead of any 2012 re-election bid.
Of course, like all Reuters correspondents writing on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Balmer is careful to deflect responsibility for his personal speculation, bias, and borderline antisemitism onto anonymous "media" and "analysts" (a violation of the agency's Handbook of Journalism).

Why do we say bias?  Well for example, in a story on the impact of interest groups on American politics and the situation in the Middle East, Balmer could have also explained to readers that Obama and Congressional Democrats received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from Palestinian advocates like George Soros and -- not to mention numerous illegal foreign donations like the $29,521 from Palestinian brothers living in Gaza.  And that these contributions may well have influenced Obama's foreign policy decisions with respect to the Middle East conflict.  But Balmer doesn't discuss any of this.

And whereas Balmer refers to Israel's "powerful supporters" in Congress that provide about $2.5 billion a year in aid (70 percent of which, incidentally, must be spent in the US on military equipment), the Reuters correspondent doesn't tell readers that Congress provided 40 percent more than that in aid to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians.

Nor does Balmer mention that Saudi Arabia, officially at war with Israel, just received Congressional approval to acquire more than $60 billion in advanced weaponry from US manufacturers.

Apparently, Balmer doesn't view or Saudi Arabia as having an interest in the situation in the Middle East, influence in American politics, or "deep pockets".