Saturday, November 5, 2011

The stink-balm peddler strikes again

When we last visited Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Crispian (curly-haired) Balmer (seller of balms), he was peddling the fatuous notion that notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas wants a peace treaty with Israel, whereas Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants, presumably, eternal war with the Arabs.

This week, Balmer disseminates a piece of malicious anti-Israel propaganda in the form of a tendentious "report" from the political NGO, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

First, note how Balmer deliberately structures his headline and lede to implant in the mind of the reader, the notion that claims and assertions, heavily propagandistic claims and assertions, are actually statements of fact:
Israel forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem - NGO
Israel is forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem as part of a deliberate policy that might constitute a war crime, a prominent Israeli non-governmental organisation said on Monday.
Only after the incendiary and unsupported claims are trumpeted as fact, does Balmer append them to clarify that they are merely claims from a political interest group.  And he characterizes the interest group as "prominent" to lend further credibility to the claims.

What Balmer doesn't tell readers, is that the ICAHD rejects Jewish nationalism, encourages the destruction of Israel via boycotts, sanctions and divestment, and supports Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

We think readers might find that information of value in weighing the integrity of claims made by the group.

Even on the merits however, the ICAHD claims and Balmer's reporting of them are laden with fabrications.  For example, Balmer reports:
There are some 300,000 Palestinians residents in East Jerusalem, representing about 35 percent of the city's total population, but ICAHD said that since Israel took control of largely Arab areas it had systematically prevented their development.
As our sidebar graphically illustrates, the Arab population in Jerusalem has risen by more than 300 percent since Israel liberated the city in 1967.  The notion that this could have occurred under a  government policy to deliberately prevent development is patently absurd.

Balmer then parrots, with no investigative research on his part, an oft-repeated canard, employed by the ICAHD:
ICAHD said it was virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits to house their growing families.
The fact is, the Israeli government has authorized more than 36,000 permits for new housing units in the Arab sector of Jerusalem, more than enough to meet the needs of Arab residents until 2020.  Balmer, were he an unbiased and credible journalist, could have discovered (and reported) this countervailing evidence with five minutes of internet browsing.

But then, other than perhaps Reuters, no one is suggesting the peddler of malodorous balms is an unbiased and credible journalist.

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