Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The latest Reuters propaganda mantra

Repetition is a propaganda device designed to:
drum the message into the target audience's subconscious by repeating keywords or phrases over and over until resistance to the message weakens. The target audience eventually accepts the message often without even realizing it. Adolph Hitler emphasized the need for repetition in propaganda.
This technique forms one of the cornerstones of Reuters Middle East reporting.  As an example, a phrase like "occupied West Bank" -- which reflects a biased political view and violates the Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism -- has appeared in over 1,600 Reuters stories over the last couple of years. 1,600.

The latest propagandistic phrasing to be adopted by Reuters and repeated in scores of stories on its website goes something like this:
The settlements are on territory captured by Israeli forces from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and are deemed by the World Court to be illegal, a finding disputed by Israel.
As we noted here, the reference to the World Court is irrelevant to the question of the legality of Jewish settlements as the court's rulings are merely advisory and non-binding.  One could just as well argue that settlements are illegal because the Organization of the Islamic Conference deems them so.  In fact, Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are entirely legal as per international law enshrined in the UN-adopted and never-abrogated Mandate for Palestine:
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.
Reuters truncated characterization of the settlements as being "on territory captured by Israeli forces from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war" reflects an attempt by the news agency to suggest that the land properly belonged to the Jordanian Arabs which of course, is not accurate.  Jordan invaded and conquered this portion of the Palestine Mandate during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and its occupation of the area was never recognized internationally.  Jordan then ethnically cleansed the territory -- including the eastern portion of Jerusalem -- of all Jews living there.

With these key omissions, Reuters is willfully distorting the historical record.  By repeating the distorted message in scores of stories, the agency is demonstrating its intent to compel its audience to accept, uncritically, a propagandistic mantra.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Fallaciousbox

Last Monday, correspondents Jeffrey Heller and Allyn Fisher-Ilan issued another in the Reuters series of malapropistic "Factbox" stories about Jewish settlements.  We noted at the time that the piece was riddled with propaganda devices.  Heller and Fisher-Ilan now update that piece with additional half-truths and overt lies:
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem says settler activity covers 42 percent of the area [Judea and Samaria].
This claim was originally published by Reuters in July and as we noted at the time, it is false.  The B'Tselem study acknowledges that Jewish communities reside upon only 1 percent of land in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank").  There was an allegation made that due to the classification of territory in the West Bank as state land, 42 percent of it is controlled by Jewish councils.  But even this claim has been rejected by the Chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities who puts the figure at 9 percent.

Heller and Fisher-Ilan continue:
Many settlers living in enclaves nearest to the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have cited cheaper housing costs as a motive. Others see themselves as pioneers exercising a biblical right of Jews to lands they call Judea and Samaria.
While this is accurate, it is willfully selective.  There is no mention of the fact for example, that Jews had lived in Judea and Samaria for over three thousand years before being ethnically cleansed by the Jordanian-controlled Arab Legion following the 1948 war with Israel.  Following liberation in the Six-Day War of 1967, Jews have now returned to the area under the rights granted them by the UN-adopted Mandate for Palestine.

And finally, note the propagandistic title of the current "Factbox":
Israeli settlements are first hurdle to peace talks
Israeli settlements are the first hurdle.  Not any of the items we cited last Thursday:
- Four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack 3 weeks ago;
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserting that he will not make a single concession in negotiations with Israel;
-  Palestinian television labeling Jewish worship at the Western Wall "sin and filth";
- The Palestinian Authority affirming the death penalty for any Palestinian selling land to a Jew.
- Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad rejecting the concept of "two states for two peoples".
For Heller and Fisher-Ilan, these Palestinian positions and provocations are apparently greasing the skids.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Palestinian Arabs show racist colors; Reuters concurs

Reuters is so entrenched in the Arab narrative and such a prolific disseminator of that narrative, that the agency's correspondents have completely lost their ability to view or report on the conflict with the neutrality demanded of them by professional journalistic ethics and the Reuters Trust Principles.

Take for example, this piece by Reuters serial liar and historical revisionist Tom Perry.  Employing the human interest story format, Perry interviews and parrots Palestinian Abu Haykel who lives in the ancient city of Hebron. The area is home to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the burial site of the founding fathers of Judaism: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and represents the second holiest worshiping site for Jews next to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.  There was a Jewish community in Hebron for more than three-thousand years before Arab riots and massacres in the 1920s eradicated it.  But we digress...

Correspondent Perry, who first joined Reuters Jerusalem Bureau last November and never pens human interest stories about Jews, tells us that Abu Haykel has had his life made "almost unliveable" by Israeli "soldiers and settlers, who first arrived on his street in 1984".  Note here how Perry alludes to Israelis (Jews) in Hebron as newcomers and interlopers when in reality, the city was founded by Jews over three millennium ago.  One has to read over halfway through Perry's story before the propagandist finally gets around to mentioning the 1929 massacre that resulted in the murder of 67 Jews and ethnic cleansing of the entire community.

Exercising their legal rights under the Hebron Agreement signed by the Palestinian Authority -- not solely a "Biblical right" as suggested by Perry -- Jews are again living in the city.   Yet, irrational and unremitting Arab hostility toward Jewish self-determination accompanied by regular violence intended to replicate the effects of the 1929 massacre have necessitated the security measures Haykel and Perry find so onerous.

Ignoring the fact that 1.5 million mostly Muslim Arabs live across Israel as full citizens with security and human rights guaranteed by the Israeli government, Perry simply rationalizes that Arab hostility, reflexive antisemitism, and refusal to countenance Jews in their midst:
The growth of settlements across the West Bank has made even committed believers in the "two-state solution" skeptical about whether it is achievable any more... 
"To be frank, I don't even contemplate the idea of a Palestinian state," said Abu Haykel. "What kind of state would it be when you've got settlements [Jews] in the middle of it?"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Deemed illegal under international law"

That's how Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan refers to Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank").  As resolved within the authoritative and never abrogated Mandate for Palestine, adopted by the League of Nations and grandfathered across to the United Nations, Fisher-Ilan's unsupported assertion is false:
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.
To Palestinian parrot and propagandist, Allyn Fisher-Ilan, who provides no evidence for her assertion that Jewish settlements are illegal under international law, we say, with all due respect, put up or shut up.

"Land that was seized from the Arabs"

Reuters has a new kid reporting on its Middle East block but the agency's Arabist line is safe with Crispian Balmer.  With assistance from Israel-hating astrology freak Allyn Fisher-Ilan, Balmer sweeps away the 3,500+ year history of Jewish civilization and communities in the eastern portion of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") with the following historical reconstruction:
More than 430,000 Jews live in well over 100 settlements established across the West Bank and East Jerusalem on land that was seized from the Arabs by Israel in a 1967 war.
Balmer doesn't mention that the land was part of the Jewish national homeland for centuries before invasion, conquest, occupation, and expulsion of the Jews by successive waves of colonizers including the Romans and the Arabs, the latter whom are, of course, indigenous to the Arabian peninsula -- not Israel, Judea and Samaria, nor Jerusalem.

For Balmer, as for the rest of the Arabist amnesiacs at Reuters, Middle East history begins in 1967.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bogus onus

In a story previewing President Obama's speech before the UN General Assembly today which will reportedly focus on the Middle East peace process, Reuters correspondents Steve Holland and Alister Bull have no difficulty identifying the source of "risk" in that process:
The United States is trying to keep direct talks brokered by Obama between Israel and the Palestinians on track. 
But Israel's refusal so far to extend a moratorium on settlements in the occupied West Bank has put the process at risk, with the Palestinians threatening to quit the negotiations if settlement construction resumes when the partial moratorium expires on September 30.
Note that it is the Palestinians who are threatening to quit negotiations if they do not get compliance from Israel in agreeing to extend a concessionary 10-month building moratorium.  Yet, for Holland and Bull, it is Israel -- and only Israel -- that is responsible for the risk of negotiations collapsing.

Holland and Bull make no mention of any of the Palestinian provocations and positions that continue to endanger the peace process.  Like:

- Four Israelis, including a pregnant woman, murdered in a Palestinian terrorist attack 3 weeks ago;
- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asserting that he will not make a single concession in negotiations with Israel;
-  Palestinian television labeling Jewish worship at the Western Wall "sin and filth";
- The Palestinian Authority affirming the death penalty for any Palestinian selling land to a Jew.
- Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad rejecting the concept of "two states for two peoples".

Nor do Holland and Bull mention that the Arab League, whose support is essential to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs, met just last week to reject once again recognition of Israel as a Jewish state -- the central issue in the conflict for nearly a century.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Jeffrey Heller: propagandist moonlighting as journalist

Reuters Editor-in-Charge in its Jerusalem Bureau, Jeffrey Heller, picks up the ball on the latest piece of Reuters propaganda:
More than 500 Israeli civilians died in 140 Palestinian suicide bomb attacks from 2000 to 2007. More than 4,500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the same period.
Heller is actually employing two propaganda techniques here: card stacking and repetition.  In an illustration of card stacking, whereas Heller cites the total number of Palestinians killed by any means during the period, he cites only the number of Israeli civilians killed and only those killed in suicide bomb attacks.  In fact, over 1,000 Israelis were murdered by Palestinians from 2000 to 2007.  We note the second propaganda technique, repetition, because this is at least the third time in recent weeks Reuters correspondents have repeated this distorted message in stories appearing on the Reuters website.

Along the way, Heller censors the word terrorist, substituting the word militant while paraphrasing an Israeli perspective:
The area, where Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority holds sway, is enjoying economic growth and Palestinian security forces have been praised by Israel for taking measures to curb militants.
And with another propaganda technique/logical fallacy, appeal to authority, Heller defers to a non-authoritative body in an effort to portray Jewish communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines as illegal:
Settlements on land that Israel occupied in 1967 have been deemed illegal by the World Court, a finding the[sic] Israel disputes.
In fact, the World Court's decisions are purely advisory and non-binding on all parties.

All of Heller's rhetorical devices cited above represent violations of the Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reuters enabling the Palestinians to cook the books?

Reuters correspondent Andrew Quinn reports that the Palestinian Authority is "cash-strapped" and the push is on to bring in an additional $500 million from Arab donors to enable the PA to balance its books and ostensibly prepare the Palestinians for statehood:
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, speaking after a meeting with Gulf Arab ministers, said the Palestinian Authority still needed about $500 million this year to fund everything from salaries to infrastructure...
[Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr] Stoere said the Palestinian Authority's efforts both to improve fiscal management and boost basic security were having a real impact on the ground -- a fact he said should persuade Israel to further reduce restrictions on Palestinian movement and trade in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.
But based on the analysis of Elder of Ziyon, there are a few accounts on the PA's books which go unmentioned in Reuters' story:
These numbers can be adjusted somewhat lower if the salaries are going to former policemen who are being paid to do nothing. But on the surface, this is part of the security budget, and any way you slice it, hundreds of millions of dollars of the PA security budget is being spent in Gaza, ostensibly for security. This may be why Hamas maintains a legal fiction between the al-Qassam Brigades and the police - because they are being paid out of different pockets, and this way Hamas terrorists can draw a second salary, courtesy of the world's nations.  If my assumptions are correct, then the World Bank may even be complicit in this scheme. They do not break down how much of the budget is being spent in Gaza versus the West Bank, and this is a critical question that all international donors should be asking.
Well, we suppose that if the World Bank is failing to report on the diversion of foreign funding to Hamas, we can't really expect Reuters to perform that due diligence.

"The United States and its allies"

Reuters consistently frames the altercation over Iran's nuclear program as one of undemonstrated claims by the United States (or the amorphous "West") and denials by Iran.  Per Reuters, the US accuses Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and Iran says it is simply pursuing nuclear power for electricity generation:
The U.N. Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Tehran for refusing to suspend sensitive parts of its nuclear work that the United States and its allies suspect is aimed at developing weapons.  
Iran denies this and refuses to halt its uranium enrichment program.
Whereas Reuters is normally quick to cite the United Nations in any global dispute as the arbiter of record, in this dispute (according to Reuters), the UN has no view on whether Iran is developing nuclear weapons and is acting only as handmaiden for the US and its allies to punish Iran. 

Of course, this is a serious distortion of the facts as the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has itself uncovered and reported on extensive evidence that Iran is working feverishly to obtain the bomb.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Reuters reports on Arab "offer of peace"

Yesterday, the Arab League met in Cairo to reissue its demands upon Israel:
"This peace cannot be possible without the full Israeli withdrawal to 1967 borders including a withdrawal from the Golan Heights and south Lebanon and establishing an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," he said.
Without a drop of irony, critical journalism, or balance, Reuters parrots the Arab line that this ultimatum represents the Arabs extending "an offer of peace to Israel".
At the same meeting, the Arab League voted to refuse to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.  Reuters fails to report on this rejectionism -- at the core of the Arab-Israeli conflict for over six decades.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reuters providing anticipatory cover for Abbas to quit peace talks, blame Israel

For 9 months of Israel's 10-month concession to freeze Jewish building in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to enter into direct peace talks and Reuters served as his apologist and public relations agent, fabricating a variety of tortured excuses for his obduracy.  Although Abbas finally agreed to direct negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a couple of weeks ago, he has threatened to quit those negotiations should Israel not extend its building moratorium.  But that is not the only reason he has threatened to quit: 
Abbas stressed that he would not make any concessions to Israel.

“If they demand concessions on the rights of the refugees or the 1967 borders, I will quit. I can’t allow myself to make even one concession,” he said.
Consistent with its reputation for systematically biased coverage of the Middle East conflict, Reuters reports (ad nauseam) on the settlement issue while completely ignoring Abbas' other demands.  Reader attention is thus successfully diverted from Palestinian intransigence on key areas where compromise will be necessary to reach an agreement, and is directed instead to the upcoming expiration of the building moratorium as a rationale for Abbas to abandon talks.  This, in a transparent bid to shift the burden for a possible failure of negotiations to Israel when Abbas has clearly stated that obtaining any less than 100 percent of his demands will result in the Palestinians walking away.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heller and Fisher-Ilan in propaganda overload mode

We've cited many times, Reuters obsessive-compulsive efforts to delegitimize Jewish settlements in Judea and Samara (the "West Bank").  The agency's typical narrative (delivered in this story by correspondents Jeffrey Heller and Allyn Fisher-Ilan) goes something like this:
The World Court deems settlements as illegal under international law, including the Geneva Conventions, a ruling Israel disputes. The United States and European Union have commonly viewed the settlements as obstacles to peace and urged their cessation.
As we noted here, though it has an impressive Utopian-sounding name, the World Court actually has no standing to rule in binding fashion on the legality of Jewish settlements.  And as we noted here, the "Geneva Conventions" pertain solely to land belonging to a sovereign state, which the unallocated Palestinian territories most decidedly are not.  Thus, both references are actually irrelevant to the legal question and therefore, red herrings (first propaganda technique).

The institution actually having authority over the issue of the international legality of Jewish settlements in the territories is the United Nations Security Council which, via its predecessor, the League of Nations, has resolved that they are entirely legal.  Heller and Fisher-Ilan do not mention this historical fact which reflects, on their part, selective omission or card stacking (second propaganda technique).

By pointing to a host of pseudo-authorities on the matter: institutions, laws, and countries, Heller and Fisher-Ilan are attempting, 1) to mislead readers into believing that Jewish settlements are illegal as well as the reason there has not been peace between Israel and the Arabs, and 2) to manipulate readers into "joining the crowd" with these false notions.  These rhetorical devices are known as appeal to authority and bandwagon, respectively (third and fourth propaganda techniques).

Heller and Fisher-Ilan repeat the selective omission/card stacking propaganda technique with this fallacious line:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel must freeze settlement activity in line with a 2003 U.S. and European-backed peace "road map" that also calls on Palestinians to curb violence against Israelis.
What the "road map" peace plan actually stipulates with respect to Palestinian obligations is the following:
Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
Not a marginal call to "curb violence against Israelis" but a host of directives compelling the Palestinians to dismantle their terrorist capabilities and infrastructure.  Something they have failed or refused to do.

Thus, the most mendacious line of all in Heller and Fisher-Ilan's story is the lede:
Factbox: Facts about Israel's Jewish settlements

Monday, September 13, 2010

Reuters rationalizes Palestinian rejection of a Jewish state

In a story on the question of whether Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will extend the building moratorium in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") when it expires later this month, Reuters correspondent Jeffrey Heller quotes Netanyahu's observation that the Palestinians still refuse to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people:
Speaking at the weekly meeting of his cabinet, Netanyahu focused in public remarks on his demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people in any peace deal, a call Abbas has rejected. 
"Unfortunately I am not yet hearing from the Palestinians the sentence 'two states for two peoples'," Netanyahu said.
Recognition of Israel as a state for the Jewish people is of course, at the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs as it was this very recognition by the United Nations with the Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947 followed by a declaration of independence by Israel the following year that led to the Arab invasion of Israel and decades of war since that time.  Israel's concern -- articulated many times -- is that with their rejection of "two states for two people", the Palestinian Arabs are setting the stage for an acquisition of their (Arab Muslim) state and then the flooding of Israel with millions of Arab "refugees" in an effort to erase Israel's Jewish character and achieve their often-stated irredentist goal of an Arab-dominated state from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.  

Heller doesn't see fit to explain Israel's position -- but he does rationalize that of the Palestinian Arabs:
Palestinians have said they have already recognized the state of Israel in past declarations and in interim peace agreements that set the basis for establishing a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
"This recognition is done," Erekat said.
But explicit recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Palestinian officials have said, could jeopardize the claims of Palestinian refugees, who fled or were forced to flee Arab-Israeli fighting, to a right of return to homes in what is now Israel.
This is called card stacking.  It's a form of propaganda.  And it's a violation of the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The other news

On July 22nd 2010, Reuters correspondent and Jerusalem bureau editor-in-charge, Jeffrey Heller, issued a story on an Israeli Arab man convicted of "sex through fraud" with an Israeli Jewish woman.  This statute makes it illegal to obtain sex via deception.  In his story, Heller wrote:
(Reuters) - An Arab man who had consensual sex with a Jewish woman in Israel has been convicted of rape in a "sex through fraud" case and sentenced to 18 months in jail. 
The defendant was quoted on Wednesday in the Haaretz newspaper as saying the case was racially motivated because the woman complained to police only after learning he was an Arab.
"If I were Jewish, they would not even have questioned me," he was quoted as saying.
At the time of the original story, neither Haaretz nor Reuters interviewed the victim to gain her account of the incident.  Haaretz has now done so with a translation from the Hebrew by MidEast Youth and summary of the story by Elizabeth:
Last week, Haaretz daily published a long expose on the matter (my full translation below), revealing what was behind the plea agreement. The report shows, that the victim, B., was raped by her father since she was six-years-old, and was later forced into prostitution by him. At the time of the rape, B. was staying in a women’s shelter after another sexual assault by her father. According to B.’s testimony, first revealed in the Haaretz report, after Kashur claimed that he was a Jewish bachelor, he enticed her to come into a stairwell in a Jerusalem building, where he brutally raped her. B. was left bleeding, beaten up and half naked by Kashur.

Following the rape, B. was hospitalized in a mental institution, where she was investigated by the police. The Prosecutor’s office decided to charge Kashur with rape and sexual assault based on B.’s testimony and other evidence. When B. later appeared in Court to give her testimony, which was confused and contradictory at times, she was confronted by the Defense attorney with her past occupation as a prostitute and her father’s abuse and rape from an early age. The court appearance left B. severely traumatized. When the Defense learned that B. previously filed 14 complaints against her father and other men for sexual assault, it asked to cross-examine B. once again about the past complaints, while focusing on a number of them that didn’t result in an indictment and convictions due to contradictions in her story. The Defense planned to use B.’s past complaints to shatter her credibility. Wanting to avoid another traumatizing event, the Prosecution formulated a plea bargain with the Defense that reduced the charges to “rape by deception”. Essentially, using the threat of once again subjecting a vulnerable rape victim to a traumatizing interrogation, the Defense was able to reach a plea agreement with greatly reduced charges, which didn’t correspond with the facts of the incident.

The Israeli media has failed to thoroughly investigate this matter, resulting in widespread victimization of a rapist and mockery of the “gullible” woman. B. was victimized and abused by her surrounding from an early age, and unfortunately, the Israeli and foreign media, pundits and the blogosphere, victimized her once again.
Thus, the victim reported that she was brutally raped but the charge was plea-bargained down to "rape by deception" or "sex through fraud" (depending on translation).

Heller, who derived much of his content from the original Haaretz story, asserted that the sex had been consensual and quoted the perpetrator but omitted any testimony from the victim, has yet to apprise his readers of this update and interview published in Haaretz.

Perhaps he views it as interfering with his preferred narrative of Israel as a racist society which seeks to prevent intermingling between Arab and Jew.

Or perhaps pseudo-feminist Allyn Fisher-Ilan will pick up the story.  One can always hope.

Hat tip: EoZ

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Reuters, the anti-multiculturalists

Curious.  We thought Reuters was, as per its website, "the world's largest international multimedia news agency..." implying a company without borders and without provincial biases.  Every once in a while however, Reuters correspondents let the mask slip and we catch a glimpse of their cultural biases and the cultural biases of their audience.  Take for example, this soft news item from Khaled Yacoub Oweis about a provocative Syrian television series:
Anzour's work in recent years has focused on religious themes, including a defense of Islam in "The ceiling of the universe," following the outrage over a Danish newspaper cartoons depicting the Prophet. In "Passers by," he described how Arab emigrants in Western societies could turn to violence.
Now perhaps Oweis simply inadvertently omitted the name of "the Prophet" he had in mind.  Or perhaps he feels he need not identify "the Prophet" because in his view and in the view of his audience, it should be obvious to whom he is referring.  Or perhaps he doesn't want to use the "M"-word for fear of offending his audience.  Or perhaps Oweis wants us to know in a subtle way, that there is only one Prophet of importance.

We wonder: would Oweis (or any Reuters correspondent) have referred to Moses in a similar vein or to Jesus as "the Messiah"?

Monday, September 6, 2010

"Indigenous" Jordanians

The modern Kingdom of Jordan, formerly known as Transjordan, represents approximately 78 percent of the original Palestine Mandate and was founded in 1949 following the War of Independence between Israel and the surrounding Arab states.  There is no difference, ethnically-speaking, between Arabs who lived east of the Jordan river in that portion of the Palestine Mandate which eventually became Jordan and those Arabs who originally lived west of the Jordan river in the area commonly known today as the "West Bank".  Even demographers do not distinguish between them.

But professional propagandists who wish to draw an artificial distinction between these groups of Arabs for the sake of political expediency or to push a particular agenda, do attempt to bifurcate them:
But Jordan's leading news website doesn't shy away from hectoring the government over misappropriation of funds by senior officials or highlighting fault lines between the country's Palestinian population and indigenous Jordanians.
Note that "indigenous Jordanians" are simply those Palestinian Arabs who happened to be living in the eastern portion of the Mandate when the country was founded.  Notwithstanding, the Jordanian government often discriminates unfairly between its Arab citizens of different tribal ancestry and has recently revoked the citizenship of thousands of subjects who originally came to Jordan from the West Bank.  Reuters doesn't mention this and suggests, misleadingly, that such deprivations are only now being considered:
Hattar's 'Allofjordan' was one of the few outlets, along with 'Ammonnews', to publish statements of normally apolitical ex-army officers asking King Abdullah to revoke citizenship of thousands of Jordanians of Palestinian origin, echoing the same fears the kingdom could turn into a Palestinian state.
Would Reuters be as taciturn if the Israeli government had stripped its Arab population of citizenship?  Rhetorical question.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Reuters still confused about Iranian support for Hamas

In a story on Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling on the Palestinians to continue warring against Israel until, "Jerusalem [is liberated] from the dirt of the Zionist occupation", Reuters correspondent Parisa Hafezi continues to get it wrong on the extent to which Iran has supported the terror group Hamas:
Washington accuses Iran of sponsoring terrorism by arming and financing those organizations. Iran says it provides moral support to the Islamist militant groups.
Note how the wily Hafezi follows an accusation by the US that Iran is arming and financing Hamas with the non sequitur, "Iran says it provides moral support to the Islamist militant groups".  Of course, that moral support does not preclude arming and financing but as written, it suggests a denial.

As we noted back in June, both Iran and Hamas have publicly admitted to the former bankrolling the latter.  And we know that Iranian missiles have ended up in the Hamas arsenal because they have also ended up exploded in Israeli communities.

Posting infrequently over the next few weeks

We're in the process of completing two academic studies on Reuters and will be posting less frequently over the next few weeks.  Thanks for your patience.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Reuters: Obama proactive, Bush neglectful on the Middle East conflict

Another of Reuters favorite canards regarding the Middle East conflict is the notion that whereas President Obama has been committed to addressing the matter from the early days of his administration, President Bush before him was slow off the mark and neglectful:
Obama had pledged to address the festering conflict early in his presidency and stay involved, in contrast to his predecessor George W. Bush, who was widely accused of neglecting the issue for most of his tenure. The Obama administration sees peace moves as especially crucial to marshaling Arab support against Iran's influence.
Never in any of Reuters many stories on this issue, have we seen the agency credit Bush for being the first US president to formally call, on June 24, 2002, for a Palestinian state.  Yes, remember that?  Less time into his presidency than Barack Obama is currently into his presidency, Bush stood with his Secretary of State, his Secretary of Defense, and his National Security Advisor and said:
I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, leaders not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy, based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.
And when the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements with their neighbors, the United States of America will support the creation of a Palestinian state whose borders and certain aspects of its sovereignty will be provisional until resolved as part of a final settlement in the Middle East..
With a dedicated effort, this state could rise rapidly, as it comes to terms with Israel, Egypt and Jordan on practical issues, such as security. The final borders, the capital and other aspects of this state's sovereignty will be negotiated between the parties, as part of a final settlement. Arab states have offered their help in this process, and their help is needed.
So, contrary to Reuters assertions -- and selective amnesia -- Bush was actually quite proactive in seeking a resolution to the conflict and an emerging Palestinian state.  Indeed, if one reads Bush's words carefully, one will see that whereas his administration proceeded quickly and in good faith along this path, it is very much the Palestinians who, eight years on, with their election of Hamas and embrace of terror, have failed miserably to deliver the goods.

Deja Vu

In this piece of unsigned propaganda masquerading as "analysis", Reuters recycles its boilerplate tropes, canards, and outright lies which we have critiqued many times in the past so we'll just add emphasis and links to our original commentary:

(Reuters) - Hamas militants have shot dead four Israeli settlers in an attack that cast a shadow over Middle East negotiations convening in Washington on Wednesday.

The violence was condemned by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who were due to dine with U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of face-to-face negotiations. Both leaders are struggling to contain hardliners opposed to a settlement.

Following are some of the possible implications of the attack.


Netanyahu, on landing in Washington on Tuesday, quickly pledged a "no compromise" stance on Israeli security. He will now be even less likely to meet Palestinian demands to offer a further freeze in Jewish settlement-building in occupied land in the West Bank, where the attack took place.

Far-right cabinet ministers have told Netanyahu they will not back any extension of a settlement-building freeze that expires on September 26.

Within hours of Tuesday's attack, Jewish settlers were demanding Netanyahu call off the talks, and threatening to resume expanding their illegal enclaves in occupied territory as soon as Wednesday, in defiance of his partial freeze.


Prime Minister Salam Fayyad swiftly vowed to take steps to try to prevent militants from striking again against Israelis, but may now face a more intense campaign by Hamas militants who had held their fire after a punishing war with Israel last year.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera ad nauseam.

"The knives that we didn't carry were this big"

That's the caption we'd choose for this photo of Israeli legislator Hanin Zoabi appearing on Reuters AlertNet website:

Zoabi, as you may recall, insisted in testimony following the Turkish flotilla incident that passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara carried no weapons.  This, despite the fact that video evidence captured her in the same location on deck as IHH jihadis holding clubs and metal rods.

Reuters however, chooses this interesting caption:
Zoabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (the Israeli parliament), talks to reporters in Amman
That's a bit like saying a Canadian member of the US Congress.  Or are the Palestinians now an ethnic group separate and distinct from the Arabs?  That would be news.