Monday, May 31, 2010

Reuters "Factbox" sanitizes Turkish IHH; misses a few facts

In one of its notorious "Factbox" formats, Reuters paints a rosy portrait of the Turkish NGO, the IHH, which sponsored and participated in the flotilla bound for Gaza:
The Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) is an Islamic charity group that was formed to provide aid to Bosnian Muslims in the mid-1990s. It has been involved in aid missions in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Iraq, Palestinian territories and other places, according to Turkish media.
The only indication of IHH activities which might suggest an agenda beyond the provision of humanitarian aid comes in this note about one of its members:
Izzet Sahin, who according to his website works for the IHH's foreign affairs department, was arrested by Israeli security forces in April on suspicion of aiding Palestinian organizations banned by Israel, Israel's Shin Bet domestic security service said earlier this month.
Courtesy of Joel Leyden, here is some additional info about the IHH which the "fact-finders" at Reuters appear to have missed:
In a working paper for The Danish Institute for International Studies, an independent international affairs research institution of Denmark, terrorism analyst and expert witness for the prosecution in U.S. terrorism trials, Evan Kohlmann details IHH's extensive affiliation with the Islamic terror network, including: explicit ties to Hamas, al-Qaida, as well other militant Islamic organizations based in Algeria, Libya, Turkey.
Even in Turkey there have been hostile exchanges between the IHH and the Turkish government, who had previously made efforts to combat home-grown terrorism. In December 1997, Turkey authorities began a criminal investigation into IHH when sources revealed to them that the IHH had purchased semi-automatic weapons from Islamic terror groups. Their Istanbul bureau was thoroughly searched and the local leaders arrested. Inside the bureau an array of items were found: "firearms, explosives, bomb-making instructions and a jihadi flag." After analyzing seized IHH documents, the Turkish authorities determined that the arrested leaders had been on their way to fight in Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Chechnya.
Here is Evan Kohlmann's report.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Obsession, thy name is Reuters

Michele Kambas, Reuters go-to correspondent in Cyprus, has just had her -- we kid you not -- 33rd story or update published in the last four days on the flotilla headed for Gaza.  This type of breathless play-by-play publicity for a propaganda stunt launched by a group enabling Palestinian terrorism and operating under false pretenses is simply grotesque, although par for the course at Reuters.

And in 33 iterations, Kambas fails to disclose any of the details on the "Free Gaza Movement" or its history of duplicity as revealed by the Elder of Ziyon website.

UPDATE MAY 31, 2010 5:52 AM: Following the inevitable clash at sea which turned violent after several members of the flotilla attacked Israeli marines who had boarded the ships, Reuters added 35 additional stories and updates to its website overnight including the predictable:
Palestinian leader calls killings at sea "massacre"
By way of comparison, Reuters published a mere 20 stories and updates during the entire week following the killing of 192 people in China in ethnic riots in July of 2009.  A further illustration of Reuters' obsessive focus on Israeli efforts to secure itself in a region openly hostile to its existence.

UPDATE MAY 31, 2010 8:38 AM: Thanks to the indefatigable Elder of Ziyon, here is a video from Israel's Channel 2 of one of the Hamas operatives on the boat stabbing an Israeli soldier in the back:

Will Reuters embed this video in one of its now 70+ stories on the flotilla?  (Rhetorical question).

The robots at Reuters

Reuters correspondents robotically refer to the territory between Israel and Jordan as "the occupied West Bank".  In so doing, they transgress truth, history, and their own professional code.

Following Palestinian Arab rejection of the UN Partition Plan, the territory remains formally unallocated as per international law and is thus, literally, no man's land.  It is de jure "disputed" rather than "occupied".

Further, as we've noted a number of times, the term "West Bank" was coined by Transjordan following its invasion and conquest of the territory in the 1948 war with Israel.  This, in an effort to erase a Jewish connection to the land going back three millenia.  Reuters glibly adopts the Arab alias for the territory, ignoring Israel's own appellation, "Judea and Samaria".  This is a clear violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism which states:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories.
And to underscore Reuters pathological bias, note how correspondents Ori Lewis and Tom Perry hypocritically handle history:
After 1948, the Green Line separated the new state of Israel from the Jordanian-held West Bank and East Jerusalem. Both were captured and occupied by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967, along with the Gaza Strip.
Catch that?  Following the war in 1948, the land was "held" by Jordan.  Following the war in 1967, the land mystically commuted to "occupied" under Israel.

No ethnocentric vantage point there, we're sure.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Reuters' Syria makeover

The last we visited Reuters Special Propagandist Correspondent Alistair Lyon, he was equating Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Today, while his comrades at Reuters attempt to make over the public image of Hamas, Lyon is busy at work doing the same for Syria.  One need wade no further than the first paragraph of this muck to catch a glimpse of Lyon's mendacious style:
DAMASCUS, May 28 (Reuters) - Syria, a middling Arab country formally at war with Israel over the occupied Golan Heights, must juggle its alliances to survive in a volatile Middle East.
Like other Reuters stories on the Middle East conflict, Lyon would have his readers believe that war between Israel and the Arab states commenced sometime around 1967 with the casus belli being Israel's control of Arab territory.  Lyon fails to mention that Syria invaded and conquered Israeli territory west of the UN Partition lines two decades earlier in the War of Independence and that Israel only reacquired the land following years of shelling of Israeli communities by Syria culminating in the 1967 war.  Moreover, Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad demands, in exchange for a peace agreement, not only return of the Golan Heights but additional territory inside pre-1948 Israel which would give Syria control over more than 55 percent of Israel's fresh water resources.  Note also, Lyon's opening sympathetic tack: Syria "must juggle alliances to survive in a volatile Middle East".  Yes, to survive, poor Syria must align itself with a regime (Iran) sworn to genocide of the Jews.  Our hearts bleed.

Lyon continues:
Threats of a new conflict have ricocheted between Syria, Israel, Iran and Lebanon this year, especially after Israeli and U.S. talk of alleged Syrian arms transfers to Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, although leaders on all sides deny they want a fight.
Lyon's timing is unfortunate.  Just today, the Times of London is reporting that it has seen satellite photos of surface-to-surface missiles being transferred from arms depots in Syria to Hezbollah bases in Lebanon.  The handover of SCUD missiles has also been acknowledged by Hezbollah itself and caps four years of the transfer of tens of thousands of other rockets from Syria to Hezbollah in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which officially ended the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.  And the notion that Iran or Syria or Hezbollah is publicly averse to war is a risible one.

Lyon then reveals his systematic bias:
In Lebanon, arena of a 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war, Syria's allies have effective veto power in the government. Hariri's son Saad has visited Damascus twice as Lebanese prime minister.  That alone indicates how much influence Syria has regained in the neighbour it dominated during its 29-year troop presence.
While Lyon refers above to the Golan Heights as "occupied" by Israel, Syria's 29-year military occupation of Lebanon is characterized as a "presence".  And no mention of course, of the fact that Syria still claims all of Lebanon as part of Greater Syria.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hamas beauty makeover continues

There's a movement afoot at Reuters to recast Hamas as a moderate "nationalist" group opposed to violent Jihad.  In today's installment, "Jihadists Challenge Hamas Western Approach", correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi reports on a terror attack at a Gaza wedding party by anonymous gunmen purportedly upset that Hamas is not extremist enough:
They had just finished performing east of Khan Younis when armed militants burst in, set fire to $40,000 worth of instruments and fired shots between the legs of band members.
Al-Mughrabi then repeats the lie issued earlier this week in his story of a terror attack at a UN summer camp:
The threat comes from Salafi jihadists whose agenda of global holy war against the West is against the nationalist goals of Gaza's rulers Hamas...
Au contraire, as we noted in our post at the time, Jihadism (holy war) is very much at the core of Hamas' identity.

Moreover, we wonder how al-Mughrabi knows the attacks are being perpetrated by Salafi jihadists when apparently no one was arrested following the wedding party incident and Hamas has refused to identify the affiliation of the attackers in the earlier UN summer camp incident.

But not to fear, although many members of the Jihadist Salafi factions "were once trained activists of Hamas' armed wing, Izz el-Deen Al-Qassam Brigades", the moderate law and order guys at Hamas have things well in hand:
Ehab al-Ghsain, spokesman of the Hamas interior ministry, said security services had finalised the plan to provide security protection to public places where residents would go to enjoy summer holidays including restaurants and beaches... Ghsain attributed a drop in bomb attacks in the territory to a security campaign to "arrest characters involved in causing chaos" and to an educational plan to rehabilitate members.
 Well, thank heaven for that.

There's factual reporting... and then there's Reuters reporting

With tens of thousands of tons of supplies moving into the Gaza Strip, it is increasingly difficult for Reuters to claim that Israel is creating a humanitarian crisis there.  But that doesn't stop the news agency from trying:
Israel and Egypt closed Gaza's borders after Islamist Hamas took control of the territory in 2007 and refused to forswear violence against the Jewish state. Gaza's 1.5 million people say they face shortages of water and medicine.
Correspondent Ori Lewis is clearly implying here that the joint Israeli-Egyptian border closure with Gaza is to blame for the alleged shortage of medicine and water.  But as reported by the BBC, even the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the problems lie elsewhere:
Israel allows medicines into Gaza. The WHO says that shortages of drugs are a problem, with 100 of 459 essential drugs out of stock at the start of the January conflict. But it blames problems in the supply chain, including the rift between Fatah and Hamas, rather than the blockade.
As for the purported water shortage, cry us a swimming pool.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

More broken boilerplate

In a previous entry, we noted Reuters deliberately downplaying the casus belli and damage done to Israel by Hezbollah in the 2006 war.  In a story today about Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatening Israeli shipping, Reuters correspondent Mariam Karouny recycles the broken and biased boilerplate from Reuters earlier article:
Hezbollah fought against Israel in a 34-day war in 2006 after the group captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid. Some 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, were killed and 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers, died.

Israel pounded Beirut's southern suburbs as well as mainly Shi'ite southern Lebanon where Hezbollah maintains a stronghold and from which Israel withdrew in 2000.

Israeli bombing also hit bridges, roads, airport runways, ports, factories, power and water networks, and military installations, and the eastern Bekaa Valley.
We'll paraphrase what we wrote in our previous post:

Reuters report of the war is heavily biased, describing the Israeli attacks in Lebanon in vivid detail while entirely omitting details of the start of the war and havoc in Israel caused by Hezbollah.  For example, Reuters fails to tell readers that:
1) Eight Israeli soldiers were killed by Hezbollah when the other two soldiers were kidnapped;
2) Hezbollah fired Katyusha rockets into Israeli border communities at the time of the initial attack;
3) Thousands of Israeli homes took direct hits by more than 4,000 rockets launched by Hezbollah during the war;
4) 300,000 Israelis were displaced;
5) More than one million Israelis were forced to live in bomb shelters for weeks.
Additionally, note Reuters' asymmetrical use of weasel words when describing Israelis as having "died" in the conflict while Lebanese were "killed".

For a bit of balance, this is what Israelis lived through:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hamas, the anti-Islamists?

Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi reports on an attack, by masked gunmen, of a UNRWA summer camp for children in the "religiously conservative" Gaza Strip:
About 20 men, some carrying assault rifles, tore up large plastic tents and burned storage facilities at the site, where tens of thousands of children are due to attend camp sessions, said Ibrahim Elewa, a private guard who was on duty when they struck.
Al-Mughrabi reports that Hamas condemned the attack and, in a fatuous effort to draw a distinction between Hamas and other Islamists, delivers this howler:
Fundamentalist Muslims, or Salafis, whose agenda of global or holy war against the West is against Hamas' nationalist goals, have stepped up attacks in the Gaza Strip over the past several months, targeting Hamas security men and offices.
Al-Mughrabi may wish to take a break from his banal propaganda efforts and have a read of the Hamas Charter which contains no fewer than 36 sympathetic references to global Jihad (holy war) including:
By virtue of the distribution of Muslims, who pursue the cause of the Hamas, all over the globe, and strive for its victory, for the reinforcement of its positions and for the encouragement of its Jihad, the Movement is a universal one.
Nothing is loftier or deeper in Nationalism than waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims.  [Including, of course, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia; ed.]
When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad becomes a duty binding on all Muslims.  [Including, of course, southern Thailand, Kashmir, Andalusia; ed.]
We must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters.
At the same time, we must be aware of current events, follow the news and study the analyses and commentaries on it [including, of course, Reuters; ed.], together with drawing plans for the present and the future and examining every phenomenon, so that every Muslim, fighting Jihad, could live out his era aware of his objective, his goals, his way and the things happening round him.
The Hamas views the other Islamic movements with respect and appreciation. Even when it differs from them in one aspect or another or on one concept or another, it agrees with them in other aspects and concepts. It reads those movements as included in the framework of striving [for the sake of Allah], as long as they hold sound intentions and abide by their devotion to Allah, and as along as their conduct remains within the perimeter of the Islamic circle. All the fighters of Jihad have their reward.
Al-Mughrabi and Reuters would like readers to believe there is some material difference -- other than geography -- between the aims and methods of Hamas and those of other Islamic movements waging Jihad around the world but the Hamas Charter clearly gives lie to that notion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A lesson in propaganda

Reporting on a large-scale, five-day air raid drill in Israel to prepare for the eventuality of Iranian-backed rocket attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah, Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan wants her readers to know:
Iran denies its uranium enrichment programme is a quest for nuclear arms and says it is purely for power. Israel is widely believed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal.
Note what has occurred here.  Employing the common propaganda technique of repetition, Fisher-Ilan parrots Iran's long-standing and risible claim that it is enriching uranium (to levels which far exceed the 3-4 percent needed to generate electricity) "purely for power".  She then juxtaposes Iran's denial with the strong suggestion -- employing the bandwagon fallacy -- that Israel has nuclear weapons.  The focus of suspicion is thus neatly shifted from Iran to Israel.

Fisher-Ilan writes:
Iran's nuclear ambitions, which the West and Israel believe are aimed at building atomic weapons...
thus singling out Israel and the amorphous "West" as credulous while making no mention that the United Nations nuclear watchdog IAEA has drawn the same conclusion.

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

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reuters reports on Hamas' violations of human rights; devotes nearly half of story to drawing comparisons with Israel

It's a rare occasion when Reuters pens a story on the systematic oppression and human rights violations endemic in Hamas-controlled Gaza.  With articles issued by the Associated Press and other agencies this week on Hamas dumping bullet-riddled bodies and demolishing dozens of Palestinian homes in Gaza, Reuters apparently felt compelled to report on these abuses.  Still, in a story of just over 300 words on the house demolitions, correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi manages to divert nearly half of his content to stale and skewed comparisons with Israeli practices when it controlled the Strip:
Israeli forces often carried out home demolitions in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, along the Egyptian border, during a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, saying the dwellings provided cover for militants.
That Israel leveled houses in Gaza is of course, where the similarity with Hamas' current abomination ends.  In the former instance, Israel was, as al-Mughrabi alludes, defending against Palestinian smuggling of lethal weaponry via tunnels strategically constructed under civilian structures so as to thwart those defensive actions.  In the latter case, Hamas is... well, being Hamas.

Al-Mughrabi then wishes to relitigate the death seven years ago of Rachel Corrie:
A U.S. pro-Palestinian activist, Rachel Corrie, was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer there in 2003 while protesting against Israeli demolitions.
Corrie was a member of the terrorist-enabling International Solidarity Movement and was killed, not while "protesting" but rather while protecting Hamas' weapons smuggling tunnels.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Reuters' radical leftist Bureau Chief finds solace amongst his own

Reporting on a street demonstration of minute proportions that would likely go ignored by a legitimately independent news agency, Reuters Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald quotes and parrots the most extreme elements in Israeli political society:
"We want a Jewish state for the Jewish people with clear, recognised borders, not a Jewish state built on settlements and discrimination," said Eldad Yaniv, a founder last year of the National Left, one of several new groups arguing Israel must quit Arab land to remain a democracy with a Jewish majority.
Macdonald alludes to Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") as "Arab land" but of course, doesn't support that false characterization with any evidence because there is none to offer.  The territories remain the last unallocated portion of the original Mandate of Palestine and as such, formally belong to neither Jew nor Arab (although discrete parcels of the land are legally titled to both individual Jews and Arabs).  But for Arabist and Israel-hater Macdonald who also fancies himself arbiter of final status issues between the parties, all the land belongs to the Arabs.

Macdonald views the half million Jews who live outside of the 1949 Armistice Lines as doing so for religious reasons:
About 500,000 Jews, some citing a Biblical birthright, live in the West Bank and areas in and around East Jerusalem that Israel captured in a 1967 war. Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
But the Bureau Chief, who suffers from terminal selective amnesia, makes no mention of the right granted to Jews in the Mandate for Palestine -- adopted in international law by both the League of Nations and the United Nations -- to settle anywhere in the territories.

Calling attention to those leftist Israelis who are dubious of "rightist" Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's commitment to a two-state solution:
Reflecting skepticism about Netanyahu's good faith in saying he wants a "two-state solution" with the Palestinians, one man held a sign reading: "Barack Obama, Please Force Peace On Us."
Macdonald pines for former leftist "peacemaking" Premier Yitzhak Rabin.  Perhaps Macdonald ought to take note of Rabin's sentiments in the year prior to his death:
We don't accept the Palestinian goal of an independent Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan. We believe that there is a separate Palestinian entity, short of state.

Friday, May 14, 2010

For Reuters, only Israel is subject to international law

Reuters correspondents seem to relish the citing of non-binding findings in international law that disfavor Israel -- like the ICJs advisory opinion on the security fence in 2004.  They are much more circumspect however, to note authoritative resolutions issued by bodies like the UN Security Council that find for Israel and/or condemn Arab violations of international law.  Take for example, the UNSC ruling in June of 2000 that Israel had completely withdrawn from Lebanese territory and that the Shebaa Farms area belongs not to Lebanon, but to Syria.  Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy appears to be confused about the independence of this determination:
Israel and Hezbollah have traded threats, even though each insists it is not seeking another conflict. One potential flashpoint is Shebaa Farms, a tiny area claimed by Lebanon but still occupied by Israel, which says it was Syrian territory.
For Bayoumy, it is only Israel that is asserting Shebaa Farms is not a part of Lebanon; there is no mention of the UNSC ruling confirming the same.  Thus, it's reported as simply a "he said-she said" between Israel and Lebanon with no reference to international law that upholds Israel's view.

In suggesting that the belligerent parties may be moving toward another war, Bayoumy cites the "unsubstantiated" allegation of the transfer of Scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah:
The region has stayed largely quiet since 2006 with U.N. and Lebanese army troops monitoring the border. But unsubstantiated Israeli allegations that Syria has transferred long-range Scud missiles to Hezbollah have caused rumors of war to swirl.
In fact, Hezbollah has confirmed receiving the Scuds and Bayoumy fails to make any mention of Hezbollah's rearming with tens of thousands of other rockets in violation of UNSC Resolution 1701.

Just another Swiss cheese sandwich prepared by Reuters.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reuters, the Swiss cheese historians

As part of its ongoing effort to prejudge the outcome of final status issues and assign Title to Jerusalem to the Palestinian Arabs, Reuters has established a long, sorry record of downplaying or simply ignoring the 3,500-year Jewish connection to the city.

On this, the 43rd anniversary of Israel's liberation of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation, Reuters correspondent Dan Williams reports on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech before Parliament:
Beset by questions about Jerusalem's future in talks with the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached for the Bible on Wednesday to stake out the Jewish state's contested claim on the city.
Williams scoffs at Judaism's claims to the city by relegating these to "the Bible" while showing deference for Palestinian claims stemming from the presence of al-Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount:
The dispute is further inflamed by the fact East Jerusalem houses al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine
Though Williams also references the site as the "vestige of two biblical Jewish temples", he doesn't acknowledge that it is, in fact, Judaism's holiest shrine.

Williams then quotes pathological liar, Palestinian Saeb Erekat:
"I find it very distasteful, this use of religion to incite hatred and fear. East Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian town, and East Jerusalem cannot continue to be occupied if there is to be peace."
Pretty rich coming from a man who rejects Israel as a Jewish state while the Palestinian constitution enshrines Islam as the official religion of his own proto-state.  And apparently, Erekat didn't tell the Palestinian National Authority that "East Jerusalem" is a "Palestinian town" because no such place appears on its website.

Finally, Williams conjures up one of Reuters truncated and heavily biased historical timelines:
Destroyed as a Jewish capital by the Romans in the 1st century AD, Jerusalem was a Christian city under their Byzantine successors before falling to Muslim Arabs in the 7th. European Crusaders regained it for a century, after which came 700 years of Muslim rule until Britain defeated the Ottoman Turks in 1917...
As Britain prepared to quit, the United Nations proposed international rule for the city in 1947 as a "corpus separatum."...
That proposal was overtaken by fighting that left Israel holding West Jerusalem in 1948 and Jordanian forces in East Jerusalem. Israel then took the rest in the Six Day War of 1967.
Note how Williams begins with the destruction of Jerusalem in the 1st century, omitting a millennium of Jewish sovereignty well-established in the archaeological record, as well as the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem's majority Jewish population by the Arab Legion in 1948.

Trifling details for a "news" agency which long ago surrendered any semblance of factual reporting.

Pottery jar handles inscribed in Hebrew, "To the King".  Jerusalem, 10th century BC.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reuters still confused as to when and why last Israel-Palestinian talks failed

For over a year, in story after story, Reuters had been attempting to make the case that the last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians failed as a direct result of the Gaza war with Hamas in January of 2009 (Israel's "offensive" as Reuters correspondents like to characterize it).  We've noted nearly as often, that contemporaneous news reports from a variety of sources (including Reuters) reflect the fact that negotiations between the parties effectively ended two months earlier, following Mahmoud Abbas' rejection of Ehud Olmert's settlement offer; the Palestinians' unsuccessful effort to persuade the Quartet to issue a diktat for a Palestinian state outside of the 1949 Armistice Lines with the eastern part of Jerusalem as capital; and imminent national elections in Israel.

Of late, Reuters has been acknowledging that there have been no negotiations for 18 months -- taking us back to November of 2008, at least one month prior to the start of the Gaza war.  Yet old habits die hard;  here's Reuters correspondent Ali Sawafta conflating both truth and mythology in one story:
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) on Saturday approved indirect talks with Israel, clearing the way for the first negotiations in 18 months and giving a boost to U.S. peace diplomacy...
There have been no negotiations since December, 2008, when Israel launched an offensive in Gaza.
Reuters desperately wishes to make Israel and the Gaza war the whipping boy for the last round of failed talks but apparently doesn't recognize that their own counting gives lie to this notion.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Propaganda and the use of metaphor

One of the ways the propagandist induces the reader to adopt her view is to use strongly suggestive language.  In the guise of simply describing a thing or event, the propagandist employs a metaphor which reflects her subjective evaluation and instills an emotional bias in the mind of the reader.

An illustration of this technique can be seen in Reuters recurring description of the Israeli security barrier:
Beit Iksa is not enclosed by the Israeli barrier that snakes through the West Bank, making it a transit point for many seeking to enter illegally for work.
Continuing in that tradition with a story focusing on the possibility that Israel will permit armed Palestinian police to patrol additional towns in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan offers a bit of history:
Under accords following a landmark 1993 interim peace deal, Israel carved up the West Bank into three zones, one where Palestinian police could be armed, another where security was a joint task with Israel, and an area in which Israeli forces remained solely in charge.
Whereas in an example of neutral reporting, the word "divided" would clearly do, Fisher-Ilan has a very specific image of Israel to peddle to her audience: 

And note, the 1993 Oslo Accords and accompanying administrative divisions in the territories were negotiated between and freely agreed by both parties, Israel and the Palestinians, based on demographics, the location of sensitive religious sites, and security considerations.  The Palestinians were sitting at the same Thanksgiving table when the butterball was apportioned.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Reuters still refuses to come clean on Palestinian rejectionism

In dozens of stories published over the last year, Reuters correspondents have reported that negotiations between Israel under the Olmert government and the Palestinians broke off as a result of the Gaza war in early 2009. We've noted repeatedly that direct talks between the parties effectively ended months earlier following 1) PA President Abbas' rejection of Olmert's offer of a Palestinian state to include 100 percent of Gaza, the equivalent of 97 percent of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), contiguity between the two Palestinian territories, sovereignty over sections of Jerusalem and a limited "right of return" for Palestinian refugees to Israel proper, 2) the Palestinians' unsuccessful bid to coerce the Quartet to impose even better terms, and 3) imminent national elections in Israel.

In a story appearing today, Jeffrey Heller inches toward the truth by acknowledging:
There have been no direct talks for the past 18 months, a period that has included Israel's Gaza war, election of a right-wing Israeli government and entrenched rule in the Gaza Strip by Hamas Islamists opposed to the U.S. peace efforts.
Note the reference to "18 months" of no talks, taking us back to early November of 2008, a date well prior to the Gaza war and thus, consistent with our previous observation.

While Heller's piece now reflects an accurate chronology, his allusion to various (peripheral) factors associated with the termination of peace talks fails to identify the one obvious, dominant factor: Abbas' rejection of Olmert's peace offer.  In fact, across the dozens of stories noted above, Reuters has been completely mum on this significant event.  Why?  We can only speculate but find it entirely consistent with the agency's modus operandi (as noted in our post immediately below) of refusing to hold the Palestinians to account for their own intransigent behavior.  By downplaying or ignoring Israeli attempts at reconciliation and settlement of the conflict, Reuters never has to report on Palestinian rejectionism.  And that seems to be the Golden Rule at Reuters Middle East Bureau.