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.