Friday, August 12, 2011

Crispian Balmer, ventriloquist

In a story on the protests in Israel over high living costs, Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer notes the diverse makeup of the protesters:
A few right-wing nationalists have also pitched tents in the city, telling protesters that the solution to the housing crisis is to build more Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians hope one day to create an independent state.
Oh really?  "[Jewish] right-wing nationalists" said the solution to the housing crisis is to build more settlements in the "occupied West Bank"?  This is like reporting that Cypriot Turks told Prime Minister Erdogan the housing crisis on the island could be addressed by building more Muslim settlements in occupied Nicosia (the Turks call the city Lefkosia).

Jews living in the territories refer to the area by its three-thousand-year-old Hebrew name, Judea and Samaria, not by the Arab ethnocentric term, "West Bank", born from ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population in 1949.  And given the fact that Jews were granted the right in international law to live and build in the territories, they would certainly never characterize the land as being "occupied".

So Balmer's account of what was said by Israeli "right-wing nationalists" is almost certainly fabricated and intended to implant in the minds of readers, his own left-wing Arabist view of the status of the territories.

And this wouldn't be the first time Balmer has put his words in the mouths of those he cites.

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