Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Reuters forgets a little something

Reporting on President Obama's meeting yesterday with Saudi King Abdullah, Reuters correspondent Alister Bull cites the substance of their discussion on the Middle East conflict:
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the King had assured Obama of his continued support for the Arab Middle East peace initiative.
This is the 2002 plan originated by King Abdullah offering Israel recognition in exchange for returning occupied territories and allowing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
So there's a Saudi offer of recognition for Israel in exchange for the return of "occupied territories" and the creation of a Palestinian state.  Per Reuters, that pretty much sums things up.

But per the Arab Middle East peace initiative, in addition to the surrender of the eastern portion of Jerusalem, there's a little something extra required of Israel to receive recognition from Arab governments:
Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.
Article 11 of UNGA Resolution 194:
Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible. 
In other words, the Saudi peace initiative demands that Israel agree to a "right of return" for all Palestinians formally classed as refugees, i.e., 4 million new Arab citizens and an end to the Jewish state -- somewhat of a non-starter for Israel.

But anyway, it's nice to know Obama has been assured the Saudis still support this.

Reuters winds down AxisMundi Jerusalem site

Over the last 18 months, Reuters has run a blog offering features and human interest stories as well as lighter and usually abridged news stories drawn from its primary website.  Although postings were sporadic, slowing considerably in recent months, content on Axismundi Jerusalem was often problematic as evidenced by our many critiques.

Indeed one of our first posts, in August of 2009, addressed a Reuters story on Uri Davis, "Fatah’s 'Palestinian Hebrew' Councilman" where writer Erika Solomon erroneously reported that Davis was Jewish when in fact, he had converted to Islam.

Davis is rabidly anti-Zionist and as a former Israeli Jew, his hatred of Israel and allegiance to Fatah makes for great propaganda fodder for those media agents wishing to delegitimize the Jewish state.  Reuters for example, actually referred readers to Davis' personal website and in their hagiography wrote:
He hopes to be the first of a more substantial presence in future Fatah conferences, which could be similar to “the small minority of white members in the ANC when South Africa was an apartheid state”.
The comparison between the ANC and Fatah is of course, both odious and completely spurious as there is no apartheid in Israel and whereas the ANC had been fighting for equal rights for South African blacks, Fatah is a deeply racist and totalitarian movement committed to the violent eradication of the state of Israel and the expulsion of all Jews who immigrated there after 1917.  Reuters didn't mention this inconvenient truth in its story about Davis nor did the news agency link to Fatah's Constitution.

As a reflection of Reuters bias, arrogance, and near absence of journalistic integrity, note this exchange between former Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald and readers appearing in the comments section following the story as it appeared on AxisMundi Jerusalem:

3 comments so far | Comments RSS
6:19 pm EDT

Solomon does not have her facts straight; Davis is a convert to Islam.

And note that despite Davis being born in Palestine in 1943, he is considered “non-Palestinian” by Fatah. Why? Because he was born Jewish and for the racists of Fatah, that is sufficient grounds for discrimination.

Posted by HIS

Aug 23, 2009
8:01 am EDT

HIS, thanks for your comment. We believe our post is accurate. [Either it is or it isn't.  If it is, say so.  If it isn't, correct it.  If you're not certain, don't publish it. ed.]  But for more detail on Davis’s complicated biography, we would direct readers to his Web site at

Posted by Alastair Macdonald

Aug 31, 2009
7:23 am EDT

Alistair: In Davis’ own words quoted in the article, he says he is, “of Jewish descent,” not “Jewish.”

HIS says he is a convert and you took the trouble to respond, saying you believe the post is accurate; that does not address the issue at all, unless you mean, “once a Jew always a Jew?”
I think you ought to elaborate.

Posted by Brad Brzezinski

Reuters has announced that it is winding down the AxisMundi Jerusalem website.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Proven liars at Reuters double-down with more mendacious propaganda

Reuters correspondent Stephanie Nebehay, whom we last caught misrepresenting both the Geneva Conventions and a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross, now turns to "U.N. human rights expert" Richard Falk to demonize Israel for razing 20 Palestinian homes in the Silwan community of Jerusalem and the possible expulsion of 4 Hamasniks.

Let's follow the agit-prop:
Israel's plan to demolish some 20 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is illegal and reflects its systematic bid to drive Palestinians out of the holy city, a U.N. human rights expert charged on Tuesday.
Here are the facts: Palestinian Arabs have built a number of homes in the area without permits.  As part of a plan to redevelop the community, the Jerusalem municipality has agreed to retroactively approve about 60 illegally built Palestinian dwellings and to provide land and permits to the 20 Palestinians whose homes will alternatively be razed.

And as we noted here, if Israel is engaged in a systematic effort to drive Palestinians out of Jerusalem, she's clearly doing a lousy job of it: the Palestinian Arab population has quadrupled since Israel liberated the city in 1967.

Richard Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Palestinian territories occupied by Israel since 1967, said its separate intent to forcibly transfer four Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to the West Bank could constitute a war crime.
We have to wade through 9 paragraphs of this muck before Nebehay finally gets around to disclosing that the four Palestinians are members of the terrorist group Hamas.  Uh-huh, a "war crime".  And by the way, Israel is considering waiving the expulsions if the Hamasniks sever their ties to the terror group.

But for Falk and Nebehay, this requirement also constitutes a war crime:
"Israel, as an occupying power, is prohibited from transferring civilian persons from East Jerusalem and is prohibited from forcing Palestinians to swear allegiance or otherwise affirm their loyalty to the State of Israel," he said.
Notice that no one has suggested anything about "forcing Palestinians to swear allegiance or otherwise affirm their loyalty to the State of Israel".  A red herring and a straw man in one sentence -- a record even for the UN.

In a bid to immunize herself and Falk from allegations of antisemitism due to consistently anti-Israel bias and coverage, Nebehay plays the race card:
Falk, who is Jewish, was detained and turned back from Israel while trying to carry out an official U.N. mission to Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem in Dec. 2008
Not to worry Stephanie, some of the Jewish state's most overwrought and mendacious critics are Jewish.

If it's Tuesday, it must be demonize the Jewsday

Former Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald, who apparently has had a change in heart about leaving the Holy Land, never misses an opportunity in his stories to demonstrate his bottomless contempt for Jews -- Jews in the Israeli government, Jews who live outside the 1949 Armistice Lines, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jewish police, etc.  In fact, the only Jews Macdonald appears to be sympathetic toward are dead Jews and Jewish converts to Islam -- oh, and his nominally Jewish anti-Israel colleagues at Reuters.

In his latest effort to demonize the Jews of Israel, Macdonald pens an 1,150 word magnum opus about the Armenian community in Jerusalem.  Loaded with rich historical narrative detailing the Armenian presence in the Holy Land -- which, by the way, Reuters never similarly provides for the 3,500 year Jewish presence in the Holy Land -- Macdonald's transparent agenda here is to portray Israel in a nefarious light, intent on ethnically cleansing non-Jews from Jerusalem:
Officials of the church, at the Armenian Patriarchate, share a view held by the mostly Muslim Palestinians -- that Israel's designation of the whole city as capital of the Jewish state means its control of residence and building permits is being used to press Arabs and other non-Jews to give up and leave.

"The withdrawing of ID cards is becoming very serious," said historian George Hintlian, a former Patriarchate secretary. Five local-born Armenians lost residence rights last month, he added.

Non-Jews, a third of today's 750,000 population in greater Jerusalem, have had residence rights but not citizenship since Israel seized the Arab east, including the Old City, from Jordan in 1967. Israel, which promotes Jewish immigration, says it is not obliged to grant re-entry to other residents who emigrate.

It says it respects the access of other faiths to Jerusalem and denies any policy to discriminate or to push non-Jews out. But the Armenians see double standards and fear for their land.
Macdonald suggests that Israel is using control over building permits to "press Arabs and other non-Jews to leave" Jerusalem but as we noted here, Israel has in recent years approved more than 36,000 permits for non-Jewish housing in the city -- enough to accommodate even the rosiest population growth forecasts through 2020.

Macdonald then quotes a former Armenian Patriarchate secretary to suggest that Israel is withdrawing resident ID cards in an effort to expel non-Jews.  But as we noted here, that only occurs if a resident spends more than seven consecutive years outside Israel, or adopts foreign residency or citizenship -- a policy not materially different from that maintained by European governments.  Indeed, in the UK and France, the government may terminate residency after an absence of only two years.

Both of Macdonald's assertions are actually red herrings for while the former Bureau Chief is sure to remind readers that non-Jews in Jerusalem "have had residence rights but not citizenship since Israel seized the Arab east", he conceals by omission, the fact that all Palestinians were offered Israeli citizenship at the time and the vast majority refused.  With concern that a future peace agreement may divide the city and leave them under Palestinian authority, thousands of non-Jews have recently rushed to apply for Israeli citizenship.

Ultimately however, on the question of demographics, the proof is in the pudding and as our right-column graphic clearly illustrates, the Arab population in Jerusalem has increased its share of the total from 26 percent to 34 percent, nearly quadrupling since Israel liberated the city in 1967.  The current Armenian population numbers anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 depending on source, a figure that has historically fluctuated and only about five-hundred fewer than the estimated 3,500 residents living in Jerusalem just prior to 1967.  And while Macdonald alleges poor treatment of the Armenian Christians by Israeli authorities and Orthodox Jews, he is silent on their maltreatment at the hands of Palestinian Muslims -- a reality which has driven many Christians to emigrate from the region.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The news agency that couldn't shoot straight (reprise)

Reuters correspondent Robin Pomeroy continues to get it wrong on the "working relationship" between Iran and Hamas.  In yet another example of lazy or duplicitous reporting, Pomeroy and Marwa Awad dip into Reuters barrel of broken boilerplate:
Israel accuses Iran of arming the Palestinian enclave's Islamist rulers, Hamas and is concerned Iran's uranium enrichment programme is aimed at making a nuclear bomb.

Tehran denies both charges, saying it offers only moral support to Hamas and that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
Here are the facts:

Iran has admitted funding Hamas -- to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars:
Since Hamas’ January 2006 electoral victory, funding has increased significantly. In April 2006, Iran pledged $50 million in aid to Hamas.[22] In November 2006, Iran donated $120 million to Hamas.[23] In December 2006, Iran pledged an additional $250 million to the terrorist organization.[24] In May 2008, Iran promised another $150 million to Hamas for the second half of 2008.[25]
And the objective evidence demonstrates that the Iranians have also supplied the terror group with armaments including Grad missiles:
In the past two-and-a-half years, dozens of Iranian-manufactured Grad rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza at areas in Israel’s western Negev region and the city of Ashkelon.[29]
Time to move on to a less risible assertion, Reuters.

Fauxtography or... shucks, we forgot the caption

On its Axismundi Jerusalem site, Reuters runs an abridged version of a story published on its main site about the Armenian Quarter in Jerusalem.  Here's the photo appearing at the top of the former story:

Ah yes, it's an Armenian priest pleading with one of those brutish IDF soldiers who is obviously roughing him up.  It's not until the last line of the story (on the following page) that Reuters comes clean:
While the rich diversity of Christian worship in the city is a joy to many, scenes of armed Israeli police and troops having to pull rival priests, notably Greeks and Armenians, off each other within feet of Jesus’s tomb in recent times have done little to burnish the kind of ecumenism many church leaders preach.
By that time of course, most readers have either fallen asleep or logged off in disgust at the sight of those barbarous Israelis.

He's ba-a-a-ck!

Well, it was just a week ago that former Reuters Bureau Chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories Alastair Macdonald waved goodbye telling us that he was stepping down and stepping out:
With one last exit stamp in my passport, I end a three-year reporting assignment in the Holy Land that has been marked by images of frontiers, by a sense of walls going up and fewer and fewer people finding a way through.
But wait!  While Macdonald has had his former title stripped from his Reuters bio, in a feat that can perhaps only be performed in the Holy Land, Macdonald resurrects himself with a story and "Factbox" about the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.  Will wonders never cease?

We'll have more about Macdonald's latest piece in a subsequent post.

Reuters, the image-makers

Reuters is currently engaged in a heavy image-making effort to recast Hamas as something other than the jihadi terror group it clearly is.  There was another attack on a UNRWA summer camp in Gaza today by "masked Palestinian gunmen" and although reportedly, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, Reuters recycles its broken boilerplate from previous stories to suggest the perpetrators were other than Hamasniks:
Fundamentalist Muslims, or Salafis -- whose agenda of global or holy war against the West conflicts with Hamas's nationalist goals -- have stepped up attacks in the Gaza Strip over the past several months, targeting Hamas security men and offices.
As we've noted in previous posts, Hamas "nationalist goals" are very much aligned with those of Islamic jihadists around the world.  An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas makes its goals clear in Article Nine of its Charter:
Motives and Objectives
Hamas finds itself at a period of time when Islam has waned away from the reality of life. For this reason, the checks and balances have been upset, concepts have become confused, and values have been transformed; evil has prevailed, oppression and obscurity have reigned; cowards have turned tigers, homelands have been usurped, people have been uprooted and are wandering all over the globe. The state of truth has disappeared and was replaced by the state of evil. Nothing has remained in its right place, for when Islam is removed from the scene, everything changes. These are the motives. As to the objectives: discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place.
Thus, Hamas seeks not only the reconquest of the entire Mandate of Palestine (Israel), but also the return of all territories to their previous Muslim "owners", e.g., Moorish Spain.  Further, Hamas wants to see the reconstitution of a global Islamic state -- the Caliphate -- under Sharia law, precisely the mission of Osama bin Laden and the global jihadist movement:
Bin Laden himself spoke of ensuring that "the pious caliphate will start from Afghanistan." His chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, also dreamed of re-establishing the caliphate, for then, he wrote, "history would make a new turn, God willing, in the opposite direction against the empire of the United States and the world's Jewish government." Another Al-Qaeda leader, Fazlur Rehman Khalil, publishes a magazine that has declared "Due to the blessings of jihad, America's countdown has begun. It will declare defeat soon," to be followed by the creation of a caliphate.
It is simply hogwash to assert, as Reuters does, that Hamas has limited nationalist goals at odds with global holy war against the West.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Two states for two people? Don't tell the Palestinian children

Reuters illustrates the logical fallacy/propaganda technique of appeal to pity by running a photo of Palestinian children in Gaza with the caption:
Palestinian children hold candles during a protest in Gaza City calling for an end to Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip
A blockade of course, which has been all but lifted except for the import of weapons and war materiel.

Children holding candles is becoming a popular motif in Palestinian/media propaganda photo shoots.  On June 2nd, Palestinian children were similarly deployed in another protest following the Turkish flotilla boarding.  Here's a pic that appeared on the website Demotix:

And here's another Demotix photo of the same protest from earlier in the day:

Notice the image of "Palestine" painted on the cheek of the child on the left.

Reuters photographers apparently missed the greasepaint -- along with the larger message.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Championship matches are on; Reuters has cameras trained on only one player

Yesterday, 12 mortars were fired at Israel by Palestinians in Gaza.  What, you say?  You didn't hear about it?  Well, neither did we until we turned to Reuters website today and read something fuzzy about it four paragraphs down in a story that led:
Israeli air strikes kill two in Gaza - Palestinians
You see, that was Israel's reply to the 12 mortars launched by Palestinians yesterday that didn't get reported by Reuters that you and we didn't hear about.  But as usual, whereas Reuters ignores the precipitating Palestinian attack, the agency leaps to report on the Israeli response.  And so it goes... the one-sided match, leaving the average observer furious with those rapacious Israelis who prey -- relentlessly, remorselessly -- on those piteous Palestinians.

Visit Lebanon! (Just not as a foreign worker)

Yara Bayoumy is positively giddy about Lebanon.  In an over-the-top public relations piece for the country, "Resilient Lebanon attracts tourists, money, glamour", the Reuters correspondent shares her unbridled enthusiasm for economic prospects this year:
Already Arab Gulf tourists fill the capital's five-star hotels, their gas-guzzling Hummers choke Beirut's narrow streets and their Asian staff struggle to carry dozens of shopping bags emblazoned with the names of top international brands. 
Beaches brim with bikini-clad, tanned women and come nighttime, clubs host Europe's top DJs who play to audiences of thousands, many of whom are flush with cash from jobs abroad and are happy to spend hundreds of dollars on food, drink and music.
Sadly, we're not on the A-list nor have we personally benefited from $80/barrel oil so we won't be throttling our Hummer through Beirut or doing the Surra de Bunda in the discos anytime soon.  We do know however, that while foreign female tourists may be living it up on the beaches and in the clubs, foreign female workers, 15 percent of whom are beaten and many of whom are murdered each year by their employers, will not be similarly enjoying the good life.  Nor will gays incidentally, for whom homosexuality is still a crime.  However, we don't want to rain on Bayoumy's parade:
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's government has also pledged to implement reforms, from privatization to slashing debt, and the IMF predicts another year of economic growth of 8 percent.
Lebanon's resilience and ability to rebound from crises is what encourages many people to visit and spurs investors to pour millions of dollars in real estate projects, one of the country's biggest money-making sectors...
Now it's skyline is dotted with cranes working to build multi-million dollar skyscrapers and five-star hotels.
Actually, the IMF has forecast economic growth for Lebanon of 6 percent in 2010 and 4.5 percent in 2011 but hey, per capita wealth in the country still edges out Botswana.

Bayoumy again:
The influx of cash is also apparent in lavish schemes. For $250 per person, a crane will lift you and 21 others 50 meters above ground to enjoy dinner while taking in Beirut's sights. Just want to watch the sunset? That'll be $120.
Now this bit of information certainly won't attract tourists.  Why pay $250 to be hung from a crane when Lebanon's benefactor Iran offers that at no charge?

Sorry, we're feeling a bit cheeky today.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

An admonishment to Reuters

One of the things we try to do here on RMEW, is draw attention to the rank hypocrisy of Reuters Middle East bureau as demonstrated by its editorial decisions on which stories to run and which to ignore.  For example, while pseudo-feminist correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan thinks it important to highlight the Israeli High Court's inquiry into state support for ultra-Orthodox gender-divided buses, she simultaneously fails to note that government-subsidized mosques in Israel also practice segregation between the sexes.

Whereas bleeding-heart correspondent Douglas Hamilton is quick to condemn Israel for revoking the permanent residency status of Jerusalem-based Palestinians when they adopt foreign citizenship, he is silent on Jordan's arbitrary stripping of the citizenship of Palestinians who originally resided in the "West Bank".

Indeed, in our daily article review and analysis of its archives, it is rare to discover a Reuters story which discusses in a forthright and detailed manner, the discriminatory and often abusive treatment meted out to women by Hamas or to the Palestinians generally, by Arab countries.  This is bias, pure and simple, and demands correcting if Reuters is to recover credibility in the eyes of the public.

In an opinion piece for Hudson New York, Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh offers some advice to the women reportedly preparing to sail on the next ship in an attempt to break the naval blockade of Gaza:
Do not forget to wear the hijab and cover other parts of your body before you arrive at the Hamas-controlled area. And make sure that none of you is seen laughing in public. 
Otherwise, you are likely to meet the same fate as other Palestinian women who have been physically and verbally abused by fundamentalist Muslims in the Gaza Strip.
Some women in the Gaza Strip have had acid splashed in their faces for allegedly being dressed "immodestly" or for being seen in public with a male who is not a husband, father, brother or son.
Just recently, Hamas's Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice stopped female journalist Asthma al-Ghul under the pretext that she came to the beach dressed "immodestly" and was seen laughing in public.
"They accused me of laughing loudly while swimming with my friend, and for failing to wear a hijab," she told a human rights organization in the Gaza Strip. "They also wanted to know the identity of the people who were swimming with me at the beach and whether they were relatives of mine."...
Moreover, it is ironic (and sad) that some of the women who are behind the new flotilla adventure come from Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Kuwait - countries that not only have killed Palestinians, but also continue to oppress them and impose severe restrictions on them.
As for the Egyptian women activists, it would be helpful if they would advise their colleagues to sail toward Egypt, whose authorities are also imposing a blockade on the Gaza Strip and continuing to prevent humanitarian aid from entering the area. The Egyptians are also continuing to prevent tens of thousands of Palestinians from using the Rafah border crossing to travel abroad.
Have the Kuwaiti women on the planned trip ever thought about protesting against the mistreatment of Palestinians in their emirate?
Following the 1991 Gulf War, Kuwait expelled some 400,000 Palestinians who were part of a thriving immigrant community in the emirate. The Palestinians were being punished because of the PLO's support for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait a year earlier.
Toameh's piece also serves as an admonishment to the correspondents and editors at Reuters who devote all of their time and careers to shamelessly demonizing Israel while routinely censoring news of abject Arab violations of Palestinian human and civil rights.

Please read it all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Still no humanitarian crisis in Gaza; Reuters falls back to secondary sources

Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy, who fatuously characterizes the jihadists aboard the Mavi Marmara as "activists" while fastidiously referring to the "unsubstantiated Israeli allegations" of the transfer of Scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah (right!), apparently has no difficulty parroting the Big Lie reportedly advanced by Filippo Grandi, the head of the UN Relief Works Agency:
Israel denies there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as Palestinians, UNRWA officials and rights advocates maintain.
Notice that Reuters has backed-off the false assertion, appearing in several of its previous stories, that the United Nations itself had accused Israel of causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.  The news agency is now relying instead on the opinions of "rights advocates" and Filippo Grandi who has also hysterically referred to Gaza as "the world's largest outdoor prison".

With all but weapons and war materiel now making its way through the border with Israel, we expect Reuters will next be consulting with Ismail Haniyeh and Lauren Booth for their views on whether there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Did Macdonald jump; was he pushed; or was it simply time to move on?

Following our report on Monday that Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald had stepped down, a reader commented that Macdonald indicated in his final piece for the agency that he had simply come to the end of his 3-year assignment.  Move on; nothing to see here.

We were curious so we checked Macdonald's start date as Bureau Chief and turns out, he began his stint in April of 2007.  That's 38-39 months devoted to a "3-year assignment".  Of course, employees do sometimes have their contracts extended for various reasons; it may be for example, that Macdonald was asked to stay on pending the hire of a new Bureau Chief (although there have been no announcements of such yet).  These things happen.  Then again, if Reuters and Macdonald were happy with the work arrangement, why wasn't his contract formally renewed?

We may never know all the reasons for Macdonald's departure; Reuters was less than transparent in its response to the latest fauxtography scandal.  On the other hand, once an individual gains some distance from a seminal event, he often feels the freedom and the need to share his experience -- in an interview or a book for example.  We await more on this story about a great storyteller.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's time Reuters dropped the pretense

In a story on Lebanon granting permission for another ship to sail to Gaza, Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy recaps recent events:
Israel announced on Sunday new steps to ease a land blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, after an international outcry over an Israeli commando raid on an aid flotilla that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.
Given that 40 or so of the passengers on the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara were members of a jihadist-linked group; armed with metal rods, combat knives, catapults, and stun grenades; agitating for violence and boasting of martyrdom; engaged in the brutal beating and ransoming of Israeli marines -- given the facts, isn't it time Reuters dropped the absurd pretense referring to these thugs as "activists"?

Please, George Orwell is rolling over.

Monday, June 21, 2010

For Allyn Fisher-Ilan, facts just twist the truth around

Reuters astrology freak Allyn Fisher-Ilan reports on a decision by the Jerusalem municipal planning board to move ahead on the construction of 1,000 new homes in the neighborhood of Silwan.  First, note this amusing non sequitur:
The blueprint also calls for demolishing about 20 Palestinian homes built without permits, while licensing another 60 of the houses Israel says were built illegally. Palestinians say building permits are impossible to obtain from Israel.
Oh sure, building permits are "impossible" for Palestinians to obtain.  Just don't tell that to the 60 Palestinian families whose houses (built illegally) are being approved retroactively.

And nowhere in her story does Fisher-Ilan explain that where illegal houses are razed, the Palestinian owners will receive land and permits to build even larger homes.  Details, details.

Nor is there any mention of the more than 36,000 permits for new housing units in the Arab sector of Jerusalem --  enough to meet the needs of Arab residents through 2020.

Who needs facts when Venus the love planet is totally engaged in your sign today? 

Reuters' Macdonald pens his swan song; biased to the end

Psychologists who study cognition and learning tell us that the capacity to learn, to adapt, to change ones' view generally declines as we age.  By the time we're in our forties and fifties, many individuals unfortunately settle into a pattern of sclerotic thinking.  Perhaps this is what's afflicting recently dethroned Reuters Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald.

In his swan song piece for the news agency, Macdonald pens a poignant tale of walls and broken bridges (both physical and metaphorical) between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs:
From the minefields of Israel's frontlines with Syria and Lebanon to the fortified fences around the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- much in this month's headlines -- to the walls, old and new, of Jerusalem, physical barriers shape the lives of the 12 million people cut off here in what was once called Palestine.
Yes, it was once called "Palestine" -- actually "Provincia Syria Palaestina", assigned that title by the Roman Emperor Hadrian in 135 AD following the Bar Kochba revolt by the Jews.  This renaming, in a deliberate effort to blot out the Jewish connection to the land which had previously been known as "Provincia Judaea" -- and before that, simply "Judaea".  How ironic that two-thousand years later, another European employs his position as Regional Chief of the most powerful news agency in the world to attempt the same abrogation.

Characterizing the differences between Gaza and Israel, Macdonald writes:
Normally, these days, it's a peaceful place, teeming with wildlife, a brief buffer zone between Gaza, an Arab city going backwards on donkey carts and embargoed scarcities, and the neat farms, hi-tech factories and shopping malls of southern Israel.
Yes, we've noticed those "embargoed scarcities" in the shops.

Macdonald could of course, also compare the current state of Gaza, embargoed because it is under the rule of a totalitarian and openly genocidal regime, with that of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") where a more tolerant and ostensibly concordant regime (aided by Israeli and Western-trained Palestinian security forces) oversees some of those same neat farms and shopping malls.

Inside the Old City's gates, Ottoman-era Quarters -- Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian -- map communal rivalries still alive today. Small battlefields marked by razor wire, flags and hurled garbage show where Israelis are settling in Arab areas.
Macdonald refers to Israelis [Jews] "settling" in "Arab areas" with the connotation that this is provocative or somehow inequitable.  Reuters never seems to be able to explain to readers why Arab-majority neighborhoods should be expunged of Jews while Arabs are free to live in any predominantly Jewish city in Israel.  Those progressive European sensibilities appear to vanish where Jewish human and civil rights are involved.

Then comes the loaded language:
The most visible wall is the new one that snakes around greater Jerusalem -- protecting it, Israel says, from suicide bombers while cutting them off from their families, according to Palestinians.
They [the Palestinians] complain, too, that the barrier penning them into the West Bank is a frontier in one direction only. Half a million Israelis live there, in an archipelago of hilltop settlements, their red, pitched roofs an image of contrast to Arab villages.
Please Alastair, tell us with which side you personally sympathize; we simply can't tell from your use of metaphor.

Finally, in what appears to be a reference to our work and that of other watchers:
Yet there are images that stay with me of those who reach over the walls. I've seen it in the Reuters journalists I worked with. Their professionalism is blind to being Palestinian or Israeli, even if partisan critics from all sides question that.
Note that in not one of our nearly 300 posts criticizing Reuters pro-Palestinian bias and easily recognizable propaganda have we ever suggested that their correspondents' partisanship or lack of professionalism is a reflection of whether they are Palestinian or Israeli.  Indeed, it is often the bureau's Israeli reporters that are the worst offenders.

Macdonald seeks to defend his colleagues in the face of overwhelming evidence of bias based on imagined claims of ethnic or national chauvinism but the truth is, Reuters bias transcends the race or religion of the writer.  At its core, the bias is rooted in personal ideology and then institutionalized.  It represents a fatal transgression of the Reuters Trust Principles and the agency's Handbook of Journalism and as such, should be addressed at the highest levels promptly.

Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief to step down

Alastair Macdonald, whose work we have followed closely since our website commenced last August, is "ending his assignment" as Reuters Bureau Chief for Israel and the Palestinian territories.  Although we don't know the details behind Macdonald's exit nor do we know yet who will be replacing him, we will be frank and say that for any observer wishing for accurate and unbiased reporting of the Middle East conflict, Macdonald's departure will not be viewed with a great deal of sympathy.

In the ten months that we have been analyzing Reuters coverage of the conflict, Macdonald has demonstrated, 1) a refusal to take responsibility for factual errors, 2) a tendency to cherry-pick survey data to support his own political views, 3) repeated efforts to downplay and whitewash Palestinian violence, 4) systematic bias in favor of the Arabs, 5) reference to racist epithets to support his pro-Arab bias, 6) reliance on libelous information sources, 7) the use of spurious "man bites dog" stories in an effort to demonize Jews, 8) willful omission of highly newsworthy stories that undermine Palestinian image-making, 9) the parroting of Palestinian propaganda, 10) selective amnesia on the historical facts along with a host of false assertions, and 11) the scandalous publication on his watch, of doctored photos in violation of the Reuters Handbook and all standards of professional and ethical journalism.

Let's see; did we forget anything?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Questions and appeals to pity

With assistance from Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton presents a "Q&A" on the Gaza blockade.  Hamilton, who has previously demonstrated that he cares not a jot for the well-being of the Palestinian Arabs except when he can exploit them as a weapon of propaganda against Israel, employs the Question and Appeal to Pity Answer format to demonize Israel and sanitize Hamas:
Because it is under the control of the militant Islamist movement Hamas, which does not accept Israel's right to exist and remains committed to armed resistance. The blockade was conceived three years ago as a way of suffocating popular support for Hamas, but the strategy has not worked. Hamas remains firmly in power and the blockade is denounced by critics as a form of collective punishment.  [emphasis ours]
Hamilton and al-Mughrabi are violating the Reuters code of ethics here by attempting to cloak in the euphemism "armed resistance", Hamas' proclaimed mission to eradicate Israel and exterminate the Jews.  And the Reuters pair conveniently ignore the 8,000 rockets and mortars launched in support of that mission by Hamas which precipitated and necessitated the Israeli blockade.

Let's not forget too, that Hamas received their mandate to rule Gaza from the Palestinian people in elections, so the charge by anonymous "critics" of "collective punishment" is indistinguishable from a claim for example, that NATOs bombing of Serbia to halt the ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Slobodan Milošević represented "collective punishment".  In both cases, non-combatants suffered for their elected leaders' militancy and gross violations of international and humanitarian law.  Indeed, Israel's embargo has been far more humane.

Reuters again:
Israel alone decides on what is openly allowed to cross the closed borders of the Gaza Strip. Most commercial goods are banned. Humanitarian aid is allowed in. Gaza smugglers have dug hundreds of underground tunnels to Egypt on the southern border where contraband of all sorts, including weapons, is smuggled in. Gaza residents say they particularly miss ice cream, Coca-Cola and instant coffee that used to be brought in from Israel.  [emphasis ours]
This is false.  Egypt also maintains a blockade on Gaza and decides what is allowed to go in and out -- which explains the smuggling tunnels on the Egyptian side of the border.  We do however, appreciate the previous reference to "collective punishment" when it comes to the Palestinians missing out on Israeli ice cream.

Hamilton and al-Mughrabi continue:
The United Nations aid agency charged with supporting Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) says people with power and money in Gaza can obtain "anything they want" via the tunnels. "There are lots of things to buy. But this stuff is out of reach of the abject poor," said spokesman Chris Gunness. The number of Gazans unable to afford sufficient food has risen threefold in the past year to 300,000.  [emphasis ours]
This is a very interesting figure.  300,000 Gazans represents about 20 percent of the total population.  With all attention focused by Reuters on Palestinian hardship, we never see reported, within the context of the Israeli-Arab conflict, the fact that 25 percent of the Israeli population lives in poverty with one in three children going to bed hungry.  Although the causes of poverty are numerous and complex, the fact that Israel has had to allocate immense national resources to defend against unremitting Arab military threats and terrorism over the last 62 years clearly plays a significant and adverse role in the nation's ability to feed its poor.  Absent the perennial presence of United Nations aid agencies and a sympathetic world media enjoyed by the Palestinians, Israel makes due without promoting its hardships.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

When the going gets tough, the tough get reading

Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards for Reuters.  His bio on the Reuters website reads:
"He [Wright] leads the process of reviewing, establishing and encouraging adherence to standards in Thomson Reuters journalism and works with editors to promote innovation. He writes a regular column and works with Editor in Chief David Schlesinger in maintaining the editorial relationship with the Reuters trustees and upholding and promoting the Reuters Trust Principles."
The overture to the Reuters Trust Principles incidentally, states:
With the publication of doctored photos eviscerating material evidence of armed violence by members of the Turkish group İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH) on board the Gaza flotilla, Reuters violated the most fundamental standards of professional journalism and its own code of ethics.  And this was not the first time.

Given all that, one might expect the "Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards" for Reuters to address in his column, this serious breach of public trust and reader concerns on the matter.  So what is Wright writing about these days?

Novels about journalists:
Maybe it’s because I want to find some glamor or intrigue or romance in my profession, so I find it reassuring that writers are still able to spin entertaining tales about journalists.

Reuters busted again

Reuters correspondents continue to violate their own code of ethics while demonstrating rank hypocrisy.  In a story on the arrest by the Iranian government of members of an exiled opposition group, Reuters uses the "T"-word four times:
Iran arrests members of "terrorist" exiled group
Iran said on Tuesday it had arrested members of an exiled opposition group who had planned terrorist attacks in Tehran
The report came two days after Iran said it had arrested 13 members of an anti-revolutionary group who had carried out terrorist attacks in the Islamic state.
Iranian officials often accuse the United States, Britain and Israel of supporting terrorists.
Reuters never seems to have a problem deploying the word terrorist when referring to attacks they abhor.

It appears that attacks on Jews do not fall into that category.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cat got your tongue?

Reuters simply cannot bring itself to say an unkind word about Hamas.  In a story on the United Nations agreeing to deliver the Gaza aid cargo currently in Israeli storage, Reuters comes close but manages to avoid noting that the reason the UN has had to step up and deliver the aid is because Hamas has thus far refused to accept it.

Perhaps correspondent Patrick Worsnip wants to make sure he doesn't lose his invitation to the next Ismail Haniyeh bash at Roots.

Jordan to go nuclear. Reuters reports on... Queen Noor's concern over nuclear proliferation

The Wall Street Journal reports that Jordan is aggressively pursuing a nuclear power program assisted by various countries including the United States.  While Jordan claims that the program will be solely to generate electricity and is negotiating to acquire the needed technology from abroad, the kingdom insists on producing enriched uranium within its own borders, a condition which worries the US:
But U.S. negotiators are unwavering in their insistence that Amman commit to purchasing its reactor fuel from the international market to guard against its potential internal diversion for military purposes. Iran's insistence on producing its own nuclear fuel stands at the center of its current conflict with the West.

U.S. officials argue if Jordan doesn't surrender its rights to produce fuel, it raises proliferation risks. Countries with the complete nuclear fuel cycle -- from mining uranium to processing it into fuel -- can convert their civilian plants for military applications. Under terms of the U.S. agreement, Jordan could mine the ore but not convert it into fuel for nuclear power.
Reuters doesn't cover this significant story but does report on Jordan's Queen Noor in Hollywood to discuss a new documentary film about... the dangers of nuclear proliferation:
Queen Noor, the widow of King Hussein of Jordan, sat down with a small group of reporters at a private luncheon on Friday to discuss the documentary, "Countdown to Zero" about nuclear bomb proliferation, which hits U.S. theaters in July.
As founding leader of Global Zero, a movement aimed at phasing out nuclear weapons around the world, Queen Noor served as a special consultant on the film in her first foray into Hollywood moviemaking.
Note how Queen Noor performs public relations for her country, cleverly inserting herself into the anti-nuclear movement popular with the chattering classes in the West, while her son contributes to the risk of nuclear proliferation by pursuing nuclear power and insisting on control over the complete nuclear fuel cycle.

And by providing free fawning publicity to Noor in Hollywood while censoring news of Jordan's nuclear activities, Reuters participates in the charade.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Israeli police officer murdered. No comment from Reuters

An Israeli police officer was shot and killed today by members of al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, the group designated as the "military wing" of Palestinian President Abbas' Fatah party.  As a reminder, Reuters  frequently assures us that Fatah opposes violence against Israel.

Reuters has yet to report on the killing but in keeping with the agency's tradition, we expect a story on the wires promptly -- if Israel retaliates.

The news agency that couldn't shoot straight

Reuters correspondent Robin Pomeroy, whose crafty phrasing and systematic bias were examined here, has another go of it in a story on Iranian ships headed for Gaza:
While Israel has long suspected Iran, which rejects the Jewish state's right to exist, of supplying weapons to Hamas, Tehran says it only provides moral support to the group.
Er, no.  Pomeroy appears to be lifting some broken Reuters boilerplate which we debunked last January.  To be clear, Iran has admitted funding Hamas -- to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars:
Since Hamas’ January 2006 electoral victory, funding has increased significantly. In April 2006, Iran pledged $50 million in aid to Hamas.[22] In November 2006, Iran donated $120 million to Hamas.[23] In December 2006, Iran pledged an additional $250 million to the terrorist organization.[24] In May 2008, Iran promised another $150 million to Hamas for the second half of 2008.[25]
And then there are those pesky Iranian Grad missiles that keep raining down on Israeli doorsteps:
In the past two-and-a-half years, dozens of Iranian-manufactured Grad rockets and mortar shells have been launched from Gaza at areas in Israel’s western Negev region and the city of Ashkelon.[29]
"Moral support".

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reuters misconstrues Geneva Conventions (updated)

Reuters reports that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has issued a statement accusing both Israel and Hamas of violating the Geneva Conventions.  As of the time of this writing, the ICRC statement doesn't yet appear on its website but Reuters correspondent Stephanie Nebehay reports that the ICRC has decided for the first time:
Israel's blockade constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law embodied in the Geneva Conventions.
Nebehay goes on to assert:
The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, ratified by Israel, bans collective punishment of a civilian population.
Nebehay is mistaken.  It is not the Fourth Geneva Convention but rather, Protocol II, a 1977 amendment to the Geneva Conventions, that specifically addresses the issue of collective punishment.  Neither Israel nor several other states (including the US) have ratified this additional Protocol.  Moreover:
Protocol II is a 1977 amendment protocol to the Geneva Conventions relating to the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts. It defines certain international laws that strive to provide better protection for victims of internal armed conflicts that take place within the borders of a single country. The scope of these laws is more limited than those of the rest of the Geneva Conventions out of respect for sovereign rights and duties of national governments.
In other words, even if Israel were a signatory, the Protocol wouldn't apply in the case of the conflict between Israel and Hamas as Gaza is not a part of Israel.

Nebehay's lede, "Israel's Gaza blockade breaks law, says ICRC", and the bulk of her story attempt to assign blame for Gaza's woes to Israel but in the last few paragraphs, we can glean who is ultimately responsible for problems like fuel shortages, power cuts, and a lack of medical supplies:
"The Palestinian authorities ... must do everything within their power to provide proper health care, supply electricity and maintain infrastructure for Gaza's people," it [the ICRC] added.
Fuel reserves in Gaza, vital for keeping hospital generators running during daily power cuts, keep drying up, it [the ICRC] said.
Stocks of essential medical supplies were at an all-time low because of a halt in cooperation between authorities in Ramallah, the Fatah-ruled West Bank, and Gaza, the agency said.
If Hamas didn't confiscate for military purposes half the fuel transferred to Gaza, perhaps reserves wouldn't keep drying up.  But then the ICRC and Reuters would be deprived of an easy scapegoat.

UPDATE JUNE 14, 2010: The statement from the ICRC (actually a news release) on Gaza has now been posted on its website and lo and behold, there's no accusation that Israel has violated Geneva Conventions to which it is a signatory; indeed, there's not a single mention of the Geneva Conventions!  Assuming this is the statement to which Nebehay refers -- the language is consistent with that cited in the Reuters story -- Nebehay has simply fabricated out of whole cloth, the allegation.  The calumnies continue.

UPDATE II JUNE 14, 2010: Reuters correspondent Jeffrey Heller, who has proven himself a serial liar, takes Nebehay's lead and repeats the canard.

Hypocrisy, thy name is Reuters

Once again, Reuters demonstrates its rank hypocrisy and mendacity.  In a story on the arrests of 13 Iranians suspected in the killings of Sunni religious leaders, Reuters parrots the Iranian regime -- not once, not twice, but three times -- referring to the suspects as terrorists.  Let's review again, Reuters published and oft-repeated policy for its journalists on use of the word "terrorist" and its derivatives.  First, from its Handbook of Journalism:
We may refer without attribution to terrorism and counter-terrorism in general but do not refer to specific events as terrorism.
Then there's Reuters global news editor Stephen Jukes who, in a memo to correspondents, famously declared
We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist.
Apparently, that "principle" only applies when Israel describes attacks against its civilians with the "T"-word.

Airbrushing the facts

Even when Reuters makes an ostensible effort to write a balanced story, its choice of language betrays its compulsive bias.  Correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi reports on Arab League chief Amr Moussa visiting the Gaza Strip today.  In an early version of the story, al-Mughrabi writes:
But Cairo reopened its Rafah crossing with the territory after Israeli marines killed nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists during a raid on a Turkish-flagged vessel in the aid convoy on May 31.
In a subsequent revision, al-Mughrabi (or his editor) makes the following change and addition:
But Cairo reopened its Rafah crossing with the enclave after Israeli marines killed nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists in a May 31 raid on a Turkish-flagged aid vessel where passengers with metal rods and knives confronted the boarding party.  [emphasis ours]
Note that the "Turkish-flagged vessel in the aid convoy" in the first generation story has become the "Turkish-flagged aid vessel" in the update.  As we know (no thanks to Reuters which has yet to report on the development), the Mavi Marmara carried no humanitarian aid whatsoever; the passengers -- members of the terror-linked IHH -- were on a singular mission of provocation and violence.

The updated story adds a reference to the weapons carried by the passengers but while explicitly mentioning those killed by Israeli marines, sanitizes the precipitating bloody assault perpetrated by the passengers with a reference only to the boarding party being "confronted".  No mention of the vicious beating, knifing, and ransoming of Israeli marines by members of the Turkish IHH which Reuters has attempted to airbrush from history.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quelle surprise!

In our previous post, "A study in bias", we noted Reuters casting a skeptical eye on Israel's Gaza embargo while credulously accepting the putative humanitarian aim of the Gaza flotilla.  In our post just below, we link to an article with an account by the captain of the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara where he testifies that the IHH passengers on board premeditated and prepared for violence.

Now comes proof that the sole purpose of the IHH-sponsored Turkish ship was to provoke a violent confrontation with Israeli forces.  Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that there was no humanitarian aid of any kind on the Mavi Marmara.

We await Reuters next report that the passengers were indubitably on a pleasure cruise of the Mediterranean.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Turkish captain knew IHH passengers planned violence. No comment from Reuters

Reuters has devoted nearly two weeks and literally hundreds of articles to the tale of the Gaza flotilla.  In that many iterations, their correspondents have yet to disclose details of the well-established links between the İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH), which sponsored the Turkish-flagged ship where the violence occurred, and Jihadist activities around the world.

We now know that IHH passengers on board the ship were planning violence:
The captain of the Mavi Marmara  tried to convince dozens of IHH activists not to engage in violent clashes with the IDF two hours prior to the commando's boarding of the ship, reported Army Radio on Friday.

The Gaza flotilla ship's captain, Mehmet Tubal, said while being investigated in Israel that he and other members of the Mavi Marmara's staff did all they could to prevent the activists from confronting soldiers, even throwing some of the IHH member's metal pipes and chains overboard.
Another senior member of the ship's staff said that 40 IHH activists took control of the Mavi Marmara and dictated the rest of the passengers' movements.
We also know that the Turkish government must have sanctioned the operation:
"[The] IHH acquired the Mavi Marmara ship from the AKP-run municipality of Istanbul. It is not conceivable that the IHH’s Gaza operation could have been carried out absent high-level government sanction," wrote Svante Cornell, a Swedish security expert who specializes in Eurasia, in an article published on Monday.

A journalist on-board the Mavi Marmara, described as having good links with the heads of the Turkish government and Bulent Yildirim, head of the IHH, had stated, "The flotilla was organized with the support of the Turkish government and Prime Minister Erdogan gave the instructions for it to set sail. That was despite the fact that everyone knew it would never reach its destination," according to the report.
We know all this with no thanks to Reuters which continues to maintain a total blackout on the story.

Tony Blair supports Israel's right to self-defense, inspect cargo bound for Gaza. No comment from Reuters

In an interview with Channel 10 news in Israel, Special Envoy for the Quartet Tony Blair stated plainly his view on the raison d'etre for the Gaza blockade:
There's no question that there are rockets fired from Gaza and that there are people in Gaza who want to kill innocent Israelis," he said. "When it comes to security, I'm 100 percent on Israel's side. Israel has the right to inspect what goes into Gaza.
Reuters, which interviewed Blair earlier in the week, is predictably silent when world leaders proffer support for Israel.

The other news: Iranian bodyguards punch and kick hecklers in Ireland

Somewhat off-topic: a heckler who interrupted a speech by Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Ireland was punched, kicked, and pushed down the stairs by Mottaki's bodyguards.  Check out this video from Nine News in Ireland:

Note the heckler, who identified himself as an Iranian, is unarmed and never approaches Mottaki.  An Irish policeman in the room initially watches passively as the bodyguards rough up a second heckler and then assists them as they headlock and pull the man from the room.

Who's enforcing the law in Ireland these days, the Irish police or the Iranian Revolutionary Guard?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Revisiting a Reuters interviewee

On June 2nd, two days after the violent confrontation between the Israel Defense Forces and passengers on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, Reuters ran a story featuring a telephone interview with the "coordinator" of the Algerian contingent on the ship, Ahmed Brahimi [sic?].  Here are some excerpts from his interview with Reuters:
"They [the Israelis] humiliated us."
"We were not armed. We did not go there to fight."
"We were doing our morning prayer when the Israelis first tried to come on board the Marmara ship."
"[The Israelis] seized our cell phones."
A clearly upset but fairly sympathetic fellow, yes?

On June 4th, Al-aqsa TV ran a slightly more revealing interview with Brahimi:
I swear on Allah, live on TV, that we felt no fear whatsoever of those brothers of apes and pigs. By Allah, I loathed them before, and my hatred of them has only grown, not because they punished and humiliated us, but because I had thought them to be worthy enemies, but it turns out that they are too despicable even to be called our enemies, because they are not our equals. They are cowards. [...]

I took an oath that if they stamped my passport, I would rip it up and leave without a passport. Our hatred for these people is so intense that we wished, at those moments, that we could have been bombs, and blow up among those brothers of apes and pigs. [...]

I believe in the principle that all the infidels are one group. No good can come of any of those infidels. All these people have issued resolutions – like the Goldstone report or some rulings of the court in the Hague – but when the time comes to implement them, none of them can put Israel in its place.

If we want to profit from what happened, we must mobilize the Islamic peoples and the Arab nation, because the Palestinian cause is a purely Islamic religious issue. If Palestine is liberated, the whole world will change. We do not want a national Palestinian state or borders. We want Palestine in its entirety.
Somehow, Reuters seems not to have quite caught the full intensity of the man.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jeffrey Heller repeats the Big Lie

Reuters continues with its calumnies against Israel:
The United Nations says the Israeli blockade has caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, an allegation Israel denies.
No.  The United Nations has said "there is no humanitarian problem in Gaza".

With Reuters' doctoring of photos exposed yet again, one would think the agency would set in place a disciplined editorial regime to ensure truth and accuracy in its Middle East reporting.  Unfortunately, one would be underestimating the power and persistence of Reuters arrogance and contempt for Israel.

Is Reuters advocating for Israel to annex Gaza and the "West Bank"?

With the focus on Reuters' eviscerating editing of the Turkish IHH photos, we nearly missed this intriguing tidbit appearing in a story last week on flotilla passenger and Israeli Arab MK Haneen Zuabi:
Arabs make up about a fifth of Israel's predominantly Jewish population. Many complain of suffering discrimination in terms of funding for their towns and job opportunities in Israel but otherwise enjoy full citizenship, unlike the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
This is a non sequitur.  Why would one expect the political status of Arabs living in the territories to be the same as that of Arabs living in Israel?  Gaza is ruled by Hamas; Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") is ruled by the Palestinian Authority.  They have their own political infrastructure, maintain their own security forces, and receive billions of dollars in foreign aid and assistance.  Hamas, elected by the Palestinians, is busy implementing Sharia law in Gaza -- anathema to the Jews of Israel, and presumably to Israeli Arabs as well who benefit from the legal, civil and humanitarian rights which come with living in an enlightened Western democracy.

Is Reuters suggesting that Israel overthrow the democratically-elected Hamas government, annex the territories and compel the Palestinians to abide by Israeli law?  We thought the long cherished goal for the Palestinians was self-determination, i.e., an independent Palestinian state living "side-by-side in peace and security" with Israel.  Perhaps not.

Well, as long as Reuters is thinking outside the box, how about the possibility of full Egyptian citizenship for the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and full Jordanian citizenship for Palestinians in the West Bank?  Or something even more creative?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reuters: Bush gave unconditional love to Israel; Obama loves ya' almost as much

In a previous post, we noted Reuters United Nations correspondent, Louis Charbonneau's tendency to obfuscate and omit essential details associated with the Israel-Lebanon/Hezbollah war in 2006 and UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which effectively ended it.

In a story today, Charbonneau suggests that the Obama White House "no longer provides automatic support for Israel at the UN" -- unlike the Bush presidency:
Under Obama, the United States seeks to reclaim its role as an impartial Middle East peace broker which critics say it lost during the previous administration of George W. Bush.
Charbonneau quotes Marina Ottaway, director of the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to make his point:
"Israel became used to unconditional support of the United States during eight years of the Bush administration."
Reuters, other anti-Israel press, and left-wing commentators frequently issue this charge but is it accurate?

In fact, although the Bush administration largely supported Israel in its war against Palestinian terrorism, this wasn't always the case.  For example, as Robert O. Freedman notes:
External events also had a significant influence on U.S. policy-making, primarily in the area of pressuring Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians. Thus, after 9/11, when the U.S. was trying to forge a worldwide coalition, including Muslims, to confront al-Qaeda, Israel was pressured into resuming negotiations with the Palestinians even though Palestinian attacks on Israelis had not ceased. Thus, following a string of Palestinian suicide attacks in March-April 2002, when Israel reoccupied the major cities of the West Bank, Bush, fearing an Arab backlash that would hinder his efforts to confront Iraq, urged Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian cities "without delay." A similar U.S. motive appeared to underlie the U.S. decision to abstain on, rather than veto, a September 2002 UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to lift the siege of Arafat's compound following another series of Palestinian suicide bombings.
So, political and diplomatic support for Israel during the Bush presidency were very much conditional, with the US willing to abstain on anti-Israel UN resolutions (which, absent a US veto, it knew would pass) and willing to pressure Israel for concessions when Bush felt he needed to appease Arab powers.

Moreover, Reuters and its "go-to" analysts frequently fail to mention that Bush was the first US President to formally call for a Palestinian state and subsequently submit the Road Map peace plan to the UN Security Council excluding 14 key reservations advanced by Israel.  Although the Bush administration promised to "fully and seriously address" these reservations, most were ultimately ignored, including Israel's insistence that full performance be required as a condition for progress between phases and the request that the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.

As putative evidence of the Obama administration's support for Israel at the UN, Charbonneau suggests that Obama has "pushed hard" to win Security Council agreement on a new round of sanctions against Iran, but the Reuters correspondent is silent on Obama's efforts to water down those sanctions with exemptions for China and Russia.

Charbonneau also cites as evidence of Obama's ostensible good will, the White House's criticism of the UN NPT declaration calling for Israel -- not Iran, North Korea, Pakistan or India -- to submit to inspections of its nuclear activities -- after Obama had hypocritically supported and endorsed the very same declaration.

Finally, Charbonneau suggests:
Outside the United Nations, analysts say Obama tried to ease strains with Netanyahu after tensions spiked earlier this year over Jewish settlement construction on occupied Palestinian land.
No evidence is offered for this assertion but the line immediately following provides an amusing non sequitur:
He coaxed Israel into indirect talks with the Palestinians, his biggest tangible achievement in Middle East diplomacy.
Yes, we're certain Netanyahu found that coaxing to "ease strains" with Obama.