Monday, September 12, 2011

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

Yesterday, we wrote about the many canards and obfuscations appearing in a September 8th op-ed ("Analysis" in Reuters parlance) written by Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer.  We noted for example, Balmer's selective omission of any reference to the 10-month settlement moratorium conceded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a good-faith but futile effort to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.  Rather, Balmer refers only to Netanyahu's subsequent decline to extend the settlement freeze and then asserts that U.S. President Barack Obama was "deeply frustrated" by this decision, leading to frosty relations between Obama and Netanyahu.

As it happens, The New York Times just published a piece on the even icier relationship between Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas which notes that the two have not spoken since February when Abbas failed to heed Obama's advice not to pursue an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations.  Balmer, it seems, only plays relationship counselor when Israel is the jilted party.

In a follow-up editorial of September 9th, "Turkey to complicate life for Israel, but avoid war", Balmer continues with his liberal use of canards and propaganda devices in an effort to advance, in the domain of public opinion, the interests of Israel's enemies.  Writing about the recent threat by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide a military escort for any future flotilla to Gaza, Balmer reports:
Indicating there is no imminent danger of a clash, the charity that organised last year's convoy to the Gaza Strip said on Friday it had no plans for now for another flotilla.
In his previous editorial, Balmer attempted to conceal the hostile nature of the Turkish flotilla which sought to breach the Israeli naval embargo of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by referring to it innocuously as "an aid flotilla" and here, he continues in that vein by characterizing the flotilla sponsor as a charity.  That "charity", the Turkish Islamist group, İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH), has documented ties to terror groups around the world, having raised funds for many of them.  Balmer, intent on sanitizing the group's public image, fails to mention this.

Moving on to a discussion of the threat to Israel's newfound offshore gas fields implicit in a Turkish naval presence in the area, Balmer writes:
Israel has sought to play down the diplomatic crisis, with officials pointing out that the two countries had already overcome previous rows, such as in 1980 when Turkey curbed ties to protest at Israel's annexation of Arab East Jerusalem.
The use of the phase Arab East Jerusalem is both ahistorical and racist, referring to the eastern portion of the city of Jerusalem as it was known for only 19 years, of its 3,000-year history, following the invasion, occupation, and ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population by the Arab Legion in 1948.  Balmer is employing a propaganda device here known as historical reconstruction, i.e., a fabrication, in an attempt to assign ownership of Jerusalem, in the minds of his readers, to the Arabs and suggest that Israel was usurping Arab land in 1967 when it liberated the city or in 1980 when it formally annexed it.

       Jewish Jerusalem prior to and following looting and destruction by the Arab Legion in 1948.

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