Sunday, September 11, 2011

Crispian Balmer goes to bat; count the canards (part I)

Last year following one of Reuters many doctored photo scandals associated with its coverage of the Middle East conflict, the media behemoth sent its Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Alastair Macdonald, packing to a desk job in London.  Macdonald was subsequently replaced by Crispian Balmer, who has already distinguished himself as, incredible as it may seem, more anti-Israel and agenda-driven than his predecessor.

In a pair of op-eds ("Analysis" in Reuters parlance) published on the 8th and 9th of September respectively, Balmer writes about the new regional dangers facing Israel due to increasing tensions with Egypt following the fall of the Mubarak regime and hostility emanating from the Erdogan government in Turkey.

Balmer's stories are replete with obvious canards, insidious propaganda devices, and racist epithets designed to peddle his editorial agenda and dupe readers into embracing his anti-Israel narrative.  In his story, "Israel faces perfect storm in shifting region" for example, Balmer writes:
Israel is the only country in the Middle East assumed to have a nuclear arsenal. Along with Western powers, it believes Iran is seeking an atomic capability, something Tehran denies.
It is not simply Israel and Western powers that believe, based on the evidence, that Iran is seeking "an atomic capability" (Balmer's euphemism for nuclear weapons), but the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well that has repeatedly advanced this view.  On most other matters, Reuters correspondents worship at the altar of the United Nations as the ultimate symbol of transnational accord but in the matter of the august body's case against Iran, Reuters is conspicuously silent.  This, to deliberately frame the dispute over Iran's nuclear program as merely a "he said/she said" between Iran and the West, with no objective findings.

Balmer then employs the lather-rinse-repeat sophistry Reuters has been embedding in its stories for over a year now to conceal the hostile nature of the Turkish flotilla trying to run the Israeli maritime embargo of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip:
Turkey was the first Muslim state to recognize Israel, in 1949, but relations nosedived last year when Israeli commandos boarded an aid flotilla challenging a naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave Gaza, killing nine Turks in ensuing clashes.
As we've noted too many times to recount, there was no "aid" on board the Mavi Marmara, where the violence occurred.  Reuters repeated reference to an "aid flotilla", "aid ship", or other such contrivance is deliberately misleading and intended to elicit reader sympathy for the Turkish Islamists manning the ship who, the Palmer report concluded, specifically sought conflict and fought furiously with metal bars, slingshots, chains, staves, and guns in an attempt to lynch Israeli marines, many of whom were seriously injured.

Balmer predictably mentions none of this.

Shifting to a discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Balmer suggests, and employs the assistance of an Israeli academic to second the idea that much of Israel's security dilemma stems from its alleged "failure to articulate a coherent Palestinian policy".  Given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's many public statements since taking office, accepting and specifically outlining his view of the contours of a Palestinian state, and continuing Palestinian rejection of bilateral peace talks to negotiate those contours, it is simply not credible for Balmer (or an academic) to assert an Israeli diplomatic failure to articulate policy on the matter, short of utter surrender -- which likely is what Balmer would wish to hear.

Here too, there is an attempt to obfuscate the historical record:
Diplomats in Jerusalem have said the Obama administration was deeply frustrated by Israel's refusal to freeze settlement building in the West Bank as a way to kick start peace talks.
Balmer fails to mention that Israel did in fact, freeze Jewish settlement building in Judea and Samara (the "West Bank") for ten months in an effort to bring the Palestinian Arabs back to the negotiating table.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dallied for nine and a half of those ten months, refusing to talk and making it impossible to progress on a peace deal.

Part II on Balmer's canards tomorrow.

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