Saturday, June 5, 2010


In an op-ed deceptively labeled as "Analysis", Reuters kingpin propagandists Tom Perry and Alastair Macdonald discuss the political fallout for Israel due to the Gaza flotilla incident.  True to form, the dynamic duo jump in with inflammatory language:
Israel is unlikely to heed calls to lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip but its bloody seizure of a Turkish aid ship...
Perhaps this was a simple transpositional error and the Reuters team actually meant to write, "its seizure of a bloody Turkish ship...".  We'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Then comes the predictably loaded language:
Israel's leaders have been unrepentant.
No bias here!  Our desktop dictionary defines unrepentant as "showing no regret for one's wrongdoing".  When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Perry and Macdonald frequently assume the role of judge, jury and executioner (and you know which side gets accused, condemned, and disemboweled).

On the possibility of Israel agreeing to ease the Gaza embargo, comes an anonymous quote:
"Some form of relaxation is a possibility," a diplomat said. "But for political reasons there may be a delay. The Israeli government doesn't want to be seen to cave in immediately."
a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism which states:
This is not to say that other people’s opinions have no place in our stories. They are very often relevant to the story and are essential for the reader or viewer to understand its meaning and consequences. For that to hold true, quoted opinion must be authoritative and be attributed to a named source. We risk biased reporting if we allow an unnamed source...
So much for authoritative opinion.  Then there are the ubiquitous scare quotes:
A key issue for Israel in any "international" inquiry will be to ensure its case for blockading Hamas and for opening fire on the Turks "in self-defence" are taken into account.
One can almost see the sneers on Perry and Macdonald's smug mugs as they refer to Israeli self-defense.

Reuters then turns to the most radical left-wing writer in Israel to criticize the Israeli government:
Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy wrote of Netanyahu's policies: "We'll become an even more despised country and won't have a single friend left in the world, not even the United States."
This coming from a man whose views are so out of the mainstream, he nearly drove uber-liberal Haaretz to financial ruin.

Finally, in a feigned gesture of journalistic balance, Perry and Macdonald cite author and Distinguished Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert Makovsky:
But bans on, for example, steel and concrete on the grounds Hamas could use them for defences, should be re-examined, he said. "To ease tensions with the international community without sacrificing Israeli security, there might be an advantage for Israel to agree to a streamlined dual-use list."
Yet, even here Reuters cannot be trusted to report faithfully.  Makovsky did not say bans on steel and concrete "should be re-examined".  What he actually wrote was this:
The better question is whether it is possible to recalibrate the blockade in a way that would bar the importation of rockets and protect Israeli security, while easing conditions on the ground. This leads to the issue of dual-use items. The past has demonstrated that Hamas has no scruples about diverting select construction materials as well as other aid meant for the public good in Gaza and utilizing it to build weapons.
To ease tensions with the international community without sacrificing Israeli security, there might be an advantage for Israel to agree to a streamlined dual-use list. Instead of saying all is forbidden unless it is explicitly approved, it might be easier to say all is permitted but that which is prohibited explicitly by the dual-use list. As such, there would instantly be a rationale for everything that is disallowed.
Yet, the first approach of Hamas agreeing to live peacefully with its Israeli neighbor would be preferable and profoundly transformative.
In other words, Makovsky recognizes that construction materials have been routinely stolen by Hamas for use as war materiel.  He is suggesting here that as a way to reduce friction with the international community, the current Israeli policy of all goods "forbidden unless explicitly approved" be replaced with a policy permitting everything EXCEPT dual-use items, i.e., steel and concrete, that can be used to build weapons.

See the difference Tom and Alastair?

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