Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Israeli Parliament passes law allowing for revocation of citizenship for treason; radical leftists hysterically portray it as "undemocratic"

The Israeli Parliament has just passed a law allowing judges to deny citizenship privileges to someone convicted of espionage or violence on behalf of an enemy state.  If this sounds familiar, it should: dozens of other democracies around the world have similar statutes including the United States, France and that bastion of civic rights, the United Kingdom, where John Amery was executed in 1945 for making propaganda broadcasts for Nazi Germany and where disloyalty to the state still carries a potential penalty of life imprisonment.

Only in Israel of course is such a bill, passed by an overwhelming majority of 37 to 11, ludicrously
decried as "undemocratic" and "discriminatory" by the radical left and Arabs who support the dismantling of the state.
Israel's Association for Civil Rights issued a statement in protest saying that "in a democracy you don't deny citizenship" and that the measure sends a "humiliating and discriminatory message that citizenship for Israeli Arabs is not automatic."[...]
"This is another law intended to wage demographic war against us," Hanna Sweid, of the Democratic Movement for Change [now defunct, ed.], said, referring to those Israeli ultra-nationalists who have voiced fears of Jews being outnumbered by Arabs in the future
And only at Reuters, where admitted radical leftists like Allyn Fisher-Ilan do the writing, can those who commit high treason be equated with "critics":
Israel has seldom revoked citizenship privileges in the past, and the measure's passage now seemed symbolic of how increasingly Israeli rightists see the nation's Arabs as well as leftist critics as a threat to their embattled country's future.
That same radical leftist then parrots a popular leftist charge against Israeli democracy:
Unlike Palestinians living in territory Israel captured in a 1967 war, Israeli Arabs are fully enfranchised though many complain of discrimination.
Yes, we've heard about that.

Fisher-Ilan demonstrates definitively that it is actually the left which brooks no criticism when she rushes to the aid of J-Street to insulate the group against censure by Israeli "ultra-nationalists":
Also last week, ultra-nationalist lawmaker Danny Danon held a hearing to upbraid the Jewish-American "J-Street," saying the group, which critises [sic] Jewish settlement-building in occupied land, should be shunned as "pro-Palestinian, not pro-Israeli."
As she fails to explain to readers that J-Street is not shunned by Israeli legislators for its criticism of Jewish settlement-building but rather for its ambivalent stance on Israel's right to exist.

As we've noted in the past, the radical left is not known for its critical thinking (nor its integrity).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Reuters again victim of renowned Arab respect for freedom of the press

On March 19th, Reuters reported that following coverage of a Palestinian "unity rally" in Gaza, its local office had been attacked by a gang of men identifying themselves as members of the terrorist group Hamas.  The attackers took a video camera, smashed the arm of one journalist with a metal bar, and threatened to throw another out of a high-rise window.

Today, Reuters reports that two of its television journalists in Syria have gone missing:
Beirut-based producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji had been expected to cross into Lebanon by road at approximately 1830 GMT on Saturday, where they had arranged for a taxi to pick them up from the border.
The last known contact was at 1722 GMT, when Baltaji sent a phone message to a colleague in Beirut in which he said: "We will leave now."
Basma and Baltaji, both Lebanese nationals, travelled to Syria on Thursday afternoon. Mass protests that erupted 10 days ago have posed the biggest challenge to President Bashar al-Assad's 11-year rule.
The two journalists have been unreachable by telephone since Saturday night.
Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said: "Reuters is deeply concerned about our two Reuters television colleagues who went missing in Syria on Saturday. We have reached out to the relevant authorities in Syria and have asked for their help in securing our colleagues' safe return home."
A Syrian official told Reuters on Sunday that authorities were working on resolving the issue.
Another Reuters journalist, whose stories have frequently featured on this site, has not fared much better:
On Friday, Syrian authorities withdrew the accreditation of Reuters text correspondent Khaled Yacoub Oweis, saying he had filed "unprofessional and false" coverage of events in Syria.
Apparently, Bashar al-Assad did not consider Oweis' stories sufficiently pro-Syrian.

Nidal al-Mughrabi, Allyn Fisher-Ilan covering for those who would commit genocide

Hamas is committed, in word and deed, to liquidating the state of Israel and committing genocide against the Jewish people.  The terrorist group has launched over 10,000 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian communities over the last few years in an effort to kill, maim, traumatize, and destroy the property of as many Israelis as possible.  Yet, one would never know this reading Reuters heavily contrived stories.

Take for example, this piece by Reuters hacks Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan:
Hamas has rejected Western demands to recognize Israel and reject outright acts of violence against the Jewish state. But it has mostly held fire since a devastating 22-day Gaza war in late 2008 in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died -- though other militants had kept up sporadic fire at Israel.
It is a bald-faced lie to assert that Hamas "has mostly held fire" since the Gaza war ended in 2009 and that other terrorist groups ("militants" in Reuters parlance) have only engaged in "sporadic fire" at Israeli communities.  As we've noted several times, in fact over 500 rockets and mortars have been launched by Gaza-based Palestinian terrorists into Israel over the last 25 months, an average of nearly one projectile per day.

Al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan apparently don't want their audience informed of the facts.  Why?  The answer is that the two are deeply ideological and dishonest reporters supporting a Palestinian advocacy agenda and working for a news agency that refuses to enforce its own corporate governance charter, the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, which obligates the company and its employees "to act at all times with integrity, independence and freedom from bias".

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Joining their brethren in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, Arabs in the Kingdom of Jordan have been protesting in the streets and calling for a change in governing regime.

In a story on the death of one protester and the panicky response by the Jordanian Prime Minister who warned of chaos overtaking the country, Reuters correspondent Lina Ejeilat divides Jordan's Arabs into "Jordanians of Palestinian origin and the country's indigenous East Bank population" [italics ours].  This, in an effort to artificially bifurcate the local Arab population into two distinct peoples.

In reality of course, Jordan was at one time an integral part of Palestine and the Arabs living east of the Jordan River in what became first, Transjordan and then, Jordan, are ethnically, culturally, linguistically, and religiously indistinguishable from those Arabs living west of the Jordan River.  The only genuine, albeit transitory, distinction is one between Arabs of northern Palestine who were historically associated with Syria and Arabs in the south who are thought to have come directly from the Arabian Peninsula.

The myth of two peoples, "east bank" Jordanians and "west bank" Palestinians is precisely that, a myth, which has been perpetuated by those with a political interest, like Reuters, in calling for the formation of a second Palestinian Arab state (the first being Jordan) on the land promised to the Jews in resolutions adopted by the League of Nations and grandfathered across to the United Nations.  

Friday, March 25, 2011

Douglas Hamilton downplays effect of Palestinian rockets; reader sets him straight

In an op-ed masquerading as "Analysis" and laden with fatuous assertions, Reuters correspondent Douglas Hamilton, who should have been terminated long ago for material breaches of the Reuters Trust Principles, suggests that:
Most Gaza rockets inflict no more than material damage [on Israeli communities]
A commenter on the Reuters website sets Hamilton straight:
I take issue with the statement: “Most Gaza rockets inflict no more than material damage.” There are hundreds of thousands of residents who are being traumatized many times every day by the threat of these missiles. And this has been going on, on and off, for years! Children are growing up under this constant threat, always having to be aware of where the nearest shelter is in case of a siren. And there have been injuries and death from these rockets in the past.
And please don’t tell me that the Gazans have it worse. All they have to do is STOP launching rockets and mortars, stop tunneling under the fence in order to attack and the Israeli army will have no reason to attack them!
Hear, hear.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Propagating propaganda

By virtue of its position as the world's largest news agency, one that sells its print stories and video content to hundreds of other news and media outlets, Reuters has enormous power to propagate the ideology and political views of the company and its correspondents -- while camouflaging this partisanship as objective news.  Doing so expressly violates the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles, a corporate governance charter which forbids reporting-bias.  Yet with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict, pervasive and systematic bias supporting the Palestinian narrative and agenda is palpable in Reuters stories.

Take for example, this copy which appeared verbatim in at least three stories by different Reuters correspondents following the lethal bus bombing in Jerusalem yesterday:
Israel's three-week war in the impoverished coastal enclave in 2009 killed about 1,400 Palestinians, drawing heavy international censure. Hamas had mostly held fire since.
Having now been propagated in over one-hundred print and online publications, the first line in the paragraph is heavily biased and the second line, overtly false.  "Israel's war" was actually a war between Hamas and Israel, precipitated by the firing of thousands of rockets and mortars by Palestinian terrorists at Israeli civilian communities.  Both this fact and any reporting of the casualties, psychological trauma, and property damage suffered by these communities as a result of Palestinian attacks goes unmentioned by Reuters.

Further, the irrelevant reference to Gaza being "impoverished" and one-sided report of "international censure" of Israel (Hamas was also censured) reflect the use of the propaganda technique of appeal to pity in the former instance and a combination of card stacking and bandwagon propaganda devices in the latter.

As indicated above, the assertion that Hamas has "mostly held [its] fire since [the war ended]" is a fabrication.  Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has launched or permitted to be launched, over 500 rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian communities since the war ended in 2009.

Thus, Reuters has, with a single 25-word paragraph, successfully propagated a heavily biased and patently false narrative, in sympathy with the Palestinian Arabs and condemnatory of Israel, which will be read by a global audience of millions of consumers who believe they are being provided impartial facts consistent with the Reuters Trust Principles.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Reuters more Palestinian than the Palestinians

On today's bus bombing in Jerusalem, Reuters correspondent and propagandist Crispian Balmer cannot bring himself to state the obvious:
Police said it was a "terrorist attack" -- Israel's term for a Palestinian strike.
Yes Crispian; it was a "terrorist attack", as even the Palestinian Prime Minister acknowledged:
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad swiftly denounced the attack. "I condemn this terrorist operation in the strongest possible terms, regardless of who was behind it," he said in a statement released by his office in the West Bank.
But Balmer has absolutely no difficulty adopting Palestinian euphemisms to conceal the horror of their terror war that killed over 1,000 Israelis:
At the height of a Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, but which died out in recent years, militants carried out dozens of often deadly bombings in Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
Nor does the Reuters correspondent have any compunction willfully understating by half, the number of Israelis killed in that terror war by slyly limiting his statistical count to suicide bombings only, while he counts Palestinians killed by any means:
Over 500 Israeli civilians died in 140 Palestinian suicide bomb attacks from 2000 to 2007. More than 4,500 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the same period. 
Balmer then recalls for readers, the 2009 Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, citing an estimate of the number of Palestinians killed, while making no mention of the thousands of Palestinian rockets and mortars fired into Israeli civilian communities that precipitated the war.
Israel launched a three-week war on the impoverished coastal enclave in 2009, killing about 1,400 Palestinians and drawing heavy international censure.
Balmer finishes with flair by asserting, sans proof, that:
Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in a 2007 coup, had mostly held fire since. 
In fact, Hamas along with other Palestinian terror groups have launched over 500 rockets and mortars into Israel since the end of the war.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hamas attacks Reuters Gaza office; threatens to throw journalist out window

GAZA, March 19 (Reuters) - Several armed men entered Reuters' office in Gaza on Saturday, threatened employees with guns and took away a video camera, apparently after they spotted a reporter filming a demonstration from the building. The men struck one Reuters journalist on the arm with a metal bar and threatened to throw another out of the window of the high-rise block. The group, which numbered about 10 men, smashed a television set and other equipment before leaving.
The same group, several of whom were carrying pistols, also forcibly entered the nearby offices of U.S. broadcaster CNN and the Japanese station NHK. They seized videotape at NHK.
The men told Reuters journalists that they came from the internal security services of Hamas, the Islamist group which governs the Palestinian enclave, but they showed no documents.
Hamas officially condemned and denied the attack:
"Initial information shows these men were not from the government. We have arrested some of them and we are going to interrogate them and see who they were acting for," Interior Minister Fathi Hammad told reporters.
He added that he had told all security services to treat journalists with respect and prevent attacks on them.
But this wasn't the first time:
It was the second time in a week that media organisations have came under attack in Gaza. Witnesses said security forces beat photographers and cameramen on Tuesday as they tried to film another Palestinian unity rally in the city.  The Foreign Press Association, which represents journalists in both Israel and the Palestinian Territories, condemned the March 15 crackdown: "This is the latest in a string of chilling attacks on reporters in Gaza," it said in a statement.
Must have been those ubiquitous violent "youths":
Hamas denied accusations that it was responsible for the violence, blaming the assault on "different youth groups".
We're sure Reuters will find some way to blame the attacks on the "occupation".

 Reuters and Hamas in better days

Friday, March 18, 2011

Saudi king expands Islamic religious police; Reuters refers to country as "conservative"

As the Arab world burns, the House of Saud is increasingly feeling the heat.  In an effort to stave off insurrection in Saudi Arabia of the kind being seen in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain, Saudi King Abdullah has appeared on television to offer billions of dollars in additional handouts to his people and, predictably, to expand the size and funding of the Islamic religious police.

The Saudi religious police or Committee for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, (Mutaween in Arabic) is tasked with enforcing medieval sharia law in the country.  They have the power to:
arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing, anyone engaged in homosexual behavior or prostitution; to enforce Islamic dress-codes, and store closures during the prayer time. They enforce Muslim dietary laws, prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages and pork, and seize banned consumer products and media regarded as un-Islamic (such as CDs/DVDs of various Western musical groups, television shows and film). Additionally, they actively prevent the practice or proselytizing of other religions within Saudi Arabia, where they are banned.  Among the things the Mutaween have been criticized or ridiculed for include, use of flogging to punish violators, banning Valentines Day gifts, arresting priests for saying Mass, and being staffed by "ex-convicts whose only job qualification was that they had memorized the Qur'an in order to reduce their sentences."
Here's how Reuters correspondent Crispian Balmer, who is never short of the most hyperbolic and hysterical language when characterizing Israeli security policy, describes this most oppressive and primitive Saudi religious and cultural institution:
In a rare televised address to the nation, the aging king made a brief statement congratulating Saudis for their loyalty and national unity before a battery of decrees were read out suggesting he was embracing increasingly conservative policies [...]
The kingdom has been slow to carry out reform promises in the conservative state since Abdullah came to power in 2005. Diplomats say the king faces opposition to political openings from some senior princes and clerics.
No bias here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The names change but the game is the same

There's a new name appearing in the byline of a story put out by Reuters Jerusalem Bureau but as one can easily note, the endemic anti-Israel bias remains a fixture of the agency's reporting.  Writing about the seizure of a ship carrying Iranian arms destined for Egypt and ultimately, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, Reuters fresh-face Ron Tzabar and veteran propagandist Ori Lewis advise:
Israel displayed on Wednesday advanced arms that it said had been found aboard a cargo ship seized in the Mediterranean Sea, and pointed to the haul as proof of the need to blockade the Gaza Strip.
Tzabar and Lewis apparently have every reason to seed doubt in the minds of readers that the arms were in fact, found aboard the cargo ship.  After all, the two reporters didn't actually see the arms being unloaded and one can never be quite certain that -- er, the Israeli government is telling the truth.

On the other hand, note that the two Reuters correspondents have absolutely no problem asserting as fact:
Since the devastating 2009 Gaza war, Hamas has signaled a desire for a truce and has tried to prevent smaller Palestinian factions from attacking Israel. Some Israeli media speculated that the shipment was intended for groups other than Hamas.
Not a shred of evidence is provided for the ludicrous notion that Hamas is trying to prevent other Palestinian terrorist groups from attacking Israel.  Apparently, Tzabar and Lewis are taking this on faith -- or perhaps on assurances from Hamas which -- er, never lies.

In fact, given the hundreds of rockets and mortars launched by Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, and Hamas, at Israeli civilian communities since the end of that "devastating" war, we would suggest the evidence is significantly stacked against Tzabar and Lewis.

Carry on, Reuters.  Carry on.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Reuters silent on Hezbollah's flouting of international law

When the United Nations acts in accordance with Reuters own political persuasions, the news agency lauds and liberally cites the august body as the ultimate arbiter of international law.  Like a fair-weather friend however, Reuters gives the UN the cold shoulder when resolutions passed in the Security Council undermine the agency's agenda.

Take for example, this story by Reuters correspondent Yara Bayoumy reporting on a demonstration in Beirut by thousands of Lebanese calling for the disarmament of the terror group Hezbollah:
(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of Lebanon's toppled premier Saad al-Hariri rallied in Beirut on Sunday, calling for the Shi'ite group Hezbollah which ousted him to put its weapons under state control.
The demonstration in Martyrs' Square was intended as a show of strength for the billionaire Sunni politician, who has gone into opposition after the collapse in January of his fractious 14-month unity government, which included Hezbollah ministers.
"It is impossible for weapons to stay raised against the will of a democratic people and against the truth," Hariri told the crowd, who waved Lebanese flags and banners of his Future Movement.
"We want to put (weapons) under the control and authority of the state because it's the army which protects us all."
Bayoumy's story gives readers the false impression that the dispute over Hebollah's weapons is purely internal to Lebanese politics and that Hezbollah may have just cause, owing to historical precedent and "defense", to keep its arsenal:  
Hezbollah, the only Lebanese faction allowed to keep its weapons after the 1975-90 civil war, says it needs them to defend Lebanon from possible Israeli attack. Israel and Hezbollah fought to a standstill in a 34-day war in 2006.
Bayoumy entirely omits mention of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 following the 2006 war with Israel that forbids the positioning of any weaponry, other than that controlled by the Lebanese army, south of the Litany River and further calls on the Lebanese government to compel the disarmament of Hezbollah.  Nor does Bayoumy mention previous UN resolutions 1559 and 1680 that mandate the disarming and disbanding of all militia groups in Lebanon.

One might think that information relevant in a story on the debate over Hezbollah's weapons.  Not Reuters apparently.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Reuters handles public relations for Palestinians

In an example of appalling bias and selective reporting known in propaganda studies as card stacking, Reuters correspondent Dan Williams rushes in to provide PR for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas as he feigns horror at the slaughter of a Jewish family over the weekend:
(Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday the killing of a Jewish settler couple and three of their children was "inhuman," telling Israel he was determined to help catch those responsible.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had complained that Abbas's administration insufficiently condemned the attack and even encouraged such bloodshed through "incitement" in official Palestinian forums.
"This was inhuman and immoral. We deplore this incident, without a doubt. It is an abomination," Abbas told Israel Radio.
"I can't imagine a four-month-old child murdered," he said, speaking in Arabic. "Children, of all things ... Any person who has a sense of humanity would be pained and driven to tears by such sights."
At the same time Abbas was crying crocodile tears for the children who had their throats cut, his political party was officially celebrating the murder of 37 Israelis, including 13 children, with the naming of a town square after the Palestinian terrorist who led the attack in 1978.

Two years ago, Abbas personally congratulated the family of Palestinian Samir Kuntar for his release in a prisoner exchange with Israel.  Kuntar murdered three Israelis including a father and his 4-year-old daughter whose skull Kuntar had crushed with the butt of a gun.

While Williams is quick to parrot Abbas' purported sympathy for murdered children, the Reuters correspondent is oddly silent on Abbas' long record of sympathy for Palestinian child-murderers.

Conjuring up the jinn

In a story appearing on Reuters' Alernet website, which provides free and unfettered publishing rights for "human rights" racketeers like Human Rights Watch, correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi employs the logical fallacies appeal to pity, assertion, the red herring and non sequitur, as well as violating the Reuters Handbook of Journalism by failing to "take no side/tell all sides" when he writes that exorcisms and religious charlatans are flourishing in Gaza due to "war and poverty":
There are a lot of demons to chase in this poverty-riddled Palestinian enclave, say a growing number of Koranic exorcists who have set up shop in Gaza, offering to end the torments of their sometimes highly disturbed patients.
The growth of exorcist clinics is seen by some as a sign of rising religious fervor among ordinary Palestinians. Hamas, the Islamic militant group that runs Gaza, however, is increasingly concerned that many exorcists are simply charlatans [...]
The idea of demonic possession exists in many religions, and belief in the existence of demons and spirits, known as jinns, is widespread among Muslims, but many mainstream clerics doubt they can possess the human body, and disapprove of the work of the so-called Koranic clinics [...]
Sheikh Ahmed Nemir, a Hamas leader and well-known Muslim cleric, believes in the power of possession, unlike some of his peers. He says economic hardship and psychological traumas have encouraged evil spirits.
The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on earth, with more than 1.5 million people crammed into the 360-square-kilometer, or 140-square-mile, territory, shut off from the rest of the world by Israeli and Egyptian security barriers.
Sheikh Nemir said Muslims with weak faith and values were vulnerable to possession by jinns acting as the agents of hostile religions.
"The spirits are Jewish and Christians," the white-bearded cleric said.
"Spirits who claim to be Muslims are collaborators because they obey the Jewish and Christians masters." Medical experts say Gaza's jinns are what most doctors would diagnose as symptoms of psychological illness [...]
Recent studies have shown that up to 12 percent of people in Gaza suffer from psychological trauma caused by the conflict with Israel, economic troubles and isolation.
Al-Mughrabi's premise here is that the incidence of mental illness in Gaza is due to intensely crowded and impoverished living conditions aggravated by the conflict with Israel.  Reuters has been attempting for years to make the case that Gaza is "one of the most densely populated places on earth" so let's begin there.

A population of 1.5 million people in Gaza over 360 square kilometers represents a density of 4,167 people per square kilometer.  In a comparison with other urban areas around the world, there are fifty-three cities or city-states more crowded than Gaza -- including Taipei, Singapore, and Tel Aviv.

Note also that anxiety disorders, like post traumatic stress disorder, are as prevalent in France and more prevalent in the US than the 12 percent psychological trauma rate for Gaza reported by al-Mughrabi.

On the economic front, many countries with a GDP per capita lower than that in Gaza also have lower reported rates of mental illness.  While as noted, many wealthy societies suffer relatively high rates of mental illness.

Which leaves us with the effects of the military conflict with Israel.  While we have no doubt that this has taken its toll on the civilian population in Gaza, al-Mughrabi is strangely silent on the comparable effects on Israelis who have suffered years of rocket attacks by Palestinian terror groups.  As we noted here, in border communities like Sderot, 45 percent of Israeli children under the age of six, 41 percent of mothers, and 33 percent of fathers suffer from PTSD.

Yet, we haven't read of a boom in exorcism clinics opening in Sderot to purge Israeli patients of Muslim demons and jinns.

Perhaps al-Mughrabi ought to consider the possibility that the Palestinian culture in Gaza encourages this type of irrational thinking.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Israel announces new settlement construction in the wake of family massacre; Jeffrey Heller springs into action

Jeffrey Heller is Editor-in-Charge of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau.  Googling his name and the word "settlements" produces over 70,000 results.  This is a man literally driven to the core of his soul, by an obsession with Jews who choose to exercise their rights, in international law, to live beyond the 1949 Armistice Lines in the disputed territories constituting the original Mandate of Palestine.

Heller is not bothered much by murderous Palestinian terrorism, which he never characterizes as such, nor even by Palestinian incitement to murder Jews, which he only reports offhand and as noted by others (as if Heller is personally unaware of the barbarous incitement permeating all facets of Palestinian society):
Netanyahu, who spoke with Abbas by phone, said the statements by the Palestinian leadership were not strong enough and it must move to end what he termed incitement against Israelis in Palestinian schools, mosques and media.
But given an announcement by the Israeli government to build additional homes in the disputed territories, Heller burns the midnight oil to report the move:
With anger high in Israel and among settlers, Netanyahu's office said in a statement that "ministers decided to authorize construction" of several hundred housing units in the Etzion bloc of settlements and in Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kiryat Sefer.
The move was likely to draw international dismay and harden Palestinian resolve not to return to peace talks frozen over Netanyahu's refusal to extend a 10-month moratorium that expired in November on housing starts in West Bank settlements.
"This decision is wrong and unacceptable and will only create problems," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Expanded construction in West Bank settlements could bolster Netanyahu within his governing coalition, which is dominated by pro-settler parties, including his own right-wing Likud [...] 
The World Court has deemed illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, territory captured along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in a 1967 war.
Some 500,000 settlers live among 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians fear the enclaves will deny them a viable state.
Violence in the West Bank has dropped significantly since its peak during a Palestinian uprising a decade ago, although tensions had risen earlier in the week when Israeli troops fired live rounds at Palestinians after they clashed with settlers.
Ten Palestinians and one Israeli were wounded in the confrontation.
Heller repeats the symbolic fiction suggesting, falsely, that settlements are illegal because the utopian-sounding but irrelevant World Court opined such; he refers to the fictitious city of "East Jerusalem", he violates the Reuters Handbook of Journalism by failing to provide Israel's appellation for the "West Bank" (Judea and Samaria); and he further violates the Reuters Handbook by employing a euphemism ("uprising") to conceal the violent horror of the Palestinian terror war that killed over 1,000 Israelis.

Otherwise, Heller continues to carry out his duties in exemplary fashion for the most biased and propagandistic news agency in the world.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


A family of five Israeli Jews including an eleven-year-old child, a toddler, and a one-month-old infant were stabbed to death early this morning.   Fatah's "military wing", al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, took responsibility for the killings.  One of our colleagues found the following crumpled-up draft in the trash bin behind Reuters Jerusalem Bureau offices:

(Reuters) - 5 Israeli Settlers Found Dead in Occupied West Bank

Five Israeli settlers, including a settler toddler and settler infant living in a settler home built on occupied Palestinian land, were found dead early this morning by the Israeli occupation authorities. The settlers apparently died of wounds sustained by a blunt instrument.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his condolences for the settler deaths and said the incident must not be allowed to damage Palestinian interests including the formation of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital before the end of the year. Abbas also explained that the incident illustrated why it was imprudent for there to be any Jews living in a Palestinian state.

Within hours of the news of the deaths, the human rights group Peace Now published a report containing satellite imagery of the settler house showing it to have been built on land once owned by a Palestinian Arab that had been sold, under conditions of oppressive bargaining, to the deep-pocketed Jewish family. The settler family had no comment.

In a related development, the Palestinian national soccer team lost its first home match on Wednesday but celebrated the symbolic step towards statehood.

UPDATE MARCH 13, 2011: In our depressing satire above, we suggested Reuters might refer to Israeli security forces as the Israeli occupation authorities.  We didn't know at the time that in early versions of its story on the incident, Reuters did indeed refer to the "Israeli occupation forces". 

A link to photos of the murdered family published by Arutz Sheva.  Their website notes:
These photos were released by the family. They have given full permission for their use in order to report on the horrific reality of murdering children and babies in their sleep, "simply because they are Jewish."

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reuters: Navi Pillay to the rescue

Reuters correspondent Stephanie Nebehay who recently wrote a fawning public relations piece on Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, reports today that Pillay has sprung into action on behalf of the estimated 6,000 Libyans killed in the revolt thus far:
Libyan bombing may be crimes against humanity: U.N. [ya think?, ed.]
(Reuters) - Libya's aerial bombing of civilians and use of heavy weapons on city streets must be investigated as possible crimes against humanity, the top U.N. human rights official said on Thursday.
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also said she had received accounts of executions, rapes and disappearances in the north African country.
Reports of the "continued aerial bombardment of civilians and the use of military grade weapons and tanks on city streets" were outrageous and "would be investigated as possible crimes against humanity," the former U.N. war crimes judge said.
We eagerly await the war crimes charges, indictments, and tribunals against an Arab dictatorship that will surely come from a UN agency throttled by stalwart supporters of human rights like Saudi Arabia and Cuba.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Reuters: Palestinian soccer team plays first match in Ramallah; ready for statehood

Sometimes Reuters efforts to advance Palestinian interests assume a theater of the absurd quality.  Reuters correspondent Ori Lewis writes of the Palestinian soccer team's first match "on home soil":
(Reuters) - Palestine celebrated their first official match on home soil on Wednesday during a bittersweet evening when their Under-21 side lost an Olympic Games qualifier to Thailand 6-5 on penalties. 
The fixture was viewed by Palestinians as another symbolic step towards confirming their credentials for the state they intend to establish in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
"This is another occasion on which we can show we are a state, every time I come here it makes me proud," Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told Reuters at the Faisal Husseini stadium.
Needless to say, if fielding a sports team or hosting a stadium or competing in international matches replaced the political institutions, legal framework, and economic viability necessary for independent sovereignty, Catalonia, New Caledonia, and the Faeroe Islands would also be "credentialed" for statehood.

We do however, like this tidbit:
Until October 2008, when they hosted Jordan in a friendly international at Al-Ram, Palestine played all their matches abroad because soccer's world governing body FIFA deemed the Palestinian territories unsafe to host visiting teams.

Reuters (inadvertently) comes clean

In our post just below, we noted that despite the fact the Utopian-sounding World Court has no binding authority to rule on the legality of Jewish settlements, Reuters repeats ad nauseam, the propaganda mantra that the body considers Jewish settlements illegal.  This, in an effort to give weight to the agency's own partisan political views.

Ironically, just a few hours ago, Reuters published a story by correspondent Patrick Worsnip which cedes to and underscores our point.

Writing about British and French efforts to impose a "no-fly" zone over Libya and the length of time it takes to to get such a resolution through the United Nations Security Council, Worsnip is quite clear on international law:
Here are some facts about the council and its resolutions to help explain why the procedure can be so cumbersome.  
The council is the only U.N. body whose resolutions have the force of international law and is mandated to tackle situations deemed to threaten international peace and security. It can impose sanctions on countries or send in peacekeeping forces with varying rules of engagement.
Thank you, Patrick, for acknowledging the facts.  Now, if only your colleagues in Jerusalem would do the same with respect to Jewish rights in international law.

The symbolic fiction

When the facts belie Reuters partisan political views, you can be sure the agency's correspondents will offer readers one of their own invented notions supported or voiced by another party whom Reuters cites as an independent and usually expert source.

Indeed, a symbolic fiction is a propaganda technique whereby a false claim, endorsed by some reputedly respectable and disinterested party, is advanced by the propagandist (Smith, 1989).

Take for example the propaganda mantra peddled in nearly 100 Reuters stories over the last couple of years that Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") are illegal -- because the World Court says so.

In a story on the Palestinian Arabs rejecting an interim peace plan rumored to be coming from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Reuters correspondent Mohammed Assadi and Jerusalem Bureau Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller repeat the mantra:
Palestinians say the settlements, deemed illegal by the World Court, will deny them a viable state.
As we've noted here, here, here, and here, Reuters' reference and deference to the World Court, on the question of the legality of Jewish settlements, is irrelevant and deluded.  The court's opinion, actually on the legality of the Israeli separation barrier rather than Jewish settlements, is entirely advisory and non-binding.  Assadi and Heller may as well cite the Organization of Islamic Conference in its opinion on Jewish settlements (this may be Reuters next recourse).

The only binding decision on the legality of Jewish settlements in the original territories of Palestine -- including the West Bank -- resides in the Mandate for Palestine, confirmed by the League of Nations on July 24, 1922, grandfathered across to the United Nations in 1946, and still legally operative today.  Article VI of the Mandate stipulates:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
Reuters Jerusalem Bureau has, to our knowledge, never cited this exclusively authoritative resolution granting Jews the right to settle anywhere in historic Palestine west of the Jordan River.

For Reuters, symbolic fiction trumps tangible truth every time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Justifying her existence

Oh dear.  The Arab world is in violent upheaval and Reuters Jerusalem Bureau correspondents can only justify their existence by kowtowing to the Palestinians and beating up on Israel over site maintenance.

In a story assembled from bits of broken boilerplate drawn from Reuters capacious anti-Israel word processing files, correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan, who has zero credibility demonstrates why public trust in the media has virtually dried up:
(Reuters) - Israel has given preliminary approval for renovations at a contested holy site in East Jerusalem where rebuilding has triggered violence in the past, a city official said Sunday.
Municipal planners last week approved the project to repair an earthen ramp near the Mughrabi Gate connecting the Wailing Wall remnant of an ancient Jewish temple to a complex revered by Muslims and Jews, both of whom claim the area as their own [...]
Located in East Jerusalem's old walled city, the ramp is next to a compound Muslims know as Haram es-Sharif, or Noble Sanctuary, and the al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.
Jews also revere the site where two biblical temples stood and which is a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In September 2000 a visit there by Ariel Sharon, then Israeli opposition leader, triggered protests that led to years of Palestinian uprising in which thousands on both sides died
Israel took East Jersusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a step that has not won international recognition. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they aim to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
In her continuing efforts to artificially bifurcate the 3,000-year-old city of Jerusalem and assign ownership to the Palestinian Arabs, Fisher-Ilan capitalizes the "E" in "East" Jerusalem, ostensibly manufacturing a fictitious city that does not appear on even Palestinian maps.  In reality, there is only Jerusalem and indeed, in moments of rare candor, the Palestinians themselves acknowledge that they want the city as capital of their nascent state, unencumbered by artificial distinctions.

Fisher-Ilan apparently never tires as well, of demonstrating the utmost deference for Arab sensibilities, referring to the story's subject holy site by its Arab-designated title and characterizing it as "Islam's third holiest site" while omitting any reference to the Jewish appellation for the site, the Temple Mount; failing to mention that it is Judaism's holiest site; and further concealing the paramount historical and religious significance of the site to Jews by referring nebulously to "two biblical temples" rather than openly identifying the sacred and archetypal Temples as those of Jewish Kings Solomon and Herod.  This is perhaps the third or fourth time over the last eighteen months we've caught Fisher-Ilan duplicitously taking this same editorial tack and thus violating the Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism.

Along a similar vein, Fisher-Ilan regurgitates the canard and post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy that the Palestinian terror war waged against Israeli civilians was precipitated by a visit to the Temple Mount by former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  As we've noted too many times to recount, this canard has been repudiated by the Palestinians themselves.

Only a naked ideologue who has lost the argument clings to discredited fallacies and cheap propaganda in an effort to remain relevant.

UPDATE MARCH 7th, 6:45 AM: A reader notes that the ramp slated for repair is not even within the al-Aqsa mosque compound boundaries and while Fisher-Ilan takes due note of purported Palestinian concerns with respect to possible damage occurring to "Islamic relics buried underground", she is not as attentive to (doesn't mention at all) Palestinian excavations on the Temple Mount that have routinely destroyed Jewish Temple-era antiquities.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The curly-haired perfume peddler performs a metaphorical fugue

In a story which suggests Hamas will benefit from the revolution in Egypt, Reuters correspondent Crispian (curly-haired) Balmer (perfume peddler) cheers on the terrorist group:
(Reuters) - Hamas is having a good revolution.
The unrest that has transformed the Arab world outside the tiny coastal enclave has boosted the standing of the Islamist group within Gaza and strengthened its position against the rival Palestinian Authority, which holds sway in the West Bank.
Hamas greeted the downfall of Egyptian former President Hosni Mubarak with euphoria, sensing that his departure would weaken Israel's stranglehold on the impoverished territory that has crippled its economy and confined its inhabitants.
Mubarak's exit has also deprived both Israel and PA President Mahmoud Abbas of their closest Arab ally, leaving them suddenly exposed in a rapidly changing region.
"The next Egyptian government will never accept the suffocation of Gaza. There will be an end to the blockade and to the isolation of Hamas," said Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum.
"It will take time, but the future is looking good."Hamas, which does not recognize Israel, won elections in the Palestinian Territories in 2006 and seized control of Gaza 18 months later after a brief civil war against Abbas's allies.
Since then it has survived an Israeli military onslaught launched after repeated cross-border rocket attacks and struggled to overcome a grinding blockade that has left 80 percent of the 1.5 million inhabitants dependent on aid.
True to Reuters' pattern of consistently demonizing Israel for the ills of the world, and particularly those of the Arab world, Balmer employs cheap metaphor and hyperbole to describe the situation in the Gaza Strip and lay blame on Israel.  Balmer delays for eight paragraphs -- and then offers bare mention of -- the rationale for Israel's embargo: "repeated cross-border rocket attacks".  We read that Israel has a "stranglehold" which has "crippled" and "confined" but nothing of the years of terrorized Israeli civilian communities which precipitated the military "onslaught".

Worse, Balmer's metaphorical fugue is entirely out of tune and out of time.  Despite Hamas' immutable mission to eradicate Israel and commit genocide against the Jewish people, and notwithstanding the hundreds of Palestinian rockets and mortars that continue to rain down on Israeli communities underscoring that mission, Israel has facilitated the delivery of over a million tons of humanitarian assistance to the Strip, accepted hundreds of thousands of Palestinians into Israeli hospitals for medical treatment, and accommodated the export of Palestinian staples like fruit, flowers, and textiles which contributed to economic growth of 16 percent in Gaza for 2010.  Data and photos from other information sources have shown us that life in Gaza is not as desperate as Reuters would have us believe.

Some however, like Crispian, continue to peddle malodorous balms and punk parlando.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fisher-Ilan caught card stacking again

Admitted radical leftist and Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan reports on efforts by Israeli lawmakers to launch an investigative probe into foreign funding of Israeli NGOs:
(Reuters) - Right-wing lawmakers have ignored the concerns of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rescheduled a vote on a proposed parliamentary probe of foreign funding for Israeli groups critical of Israel's policies.
Amid public criticism of around a half-dozen proposed measures in parliament widely viewed as targeting left-wing groups, Netanyahu had taken action that effectively put off a vote last week on setting up the legislative inquiry panel [...]
Fisher-Ilan, known for her deeply dishonest reporting on the Middle East conflict and prolific use of propaganda devices to deceive readers into unwittingly accepting her personal political views, selectively highlights Israeli NGOs which are fighting the probe:
Among groups likely to come under scrutiny are Peace Now, which vocally opposes Jewish settlement on occupied land that Palestinians want for a state. Another is the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which campaigns for democratic values, freedom of speech, equal rights and "the end of occupation."
Fisher-Ilan doesn't mention that Peace Now "vocally opposes Jewish settlement" by liberally lying and libeling its targets.  Nor does she identify some of the other NGOs likely to come under scrutiny, like Adalah which is heavily funded by the European Union and advocates for the eradication of a Jewish nation-state.

The Reuters correspondent then attempts to draw an utterly absurd parallel between on the one hand, Saudi Arabia financing Arab land acquisitions in Israel, and on the other, individuals buying land in Jerusalem and the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"):
Danon asserted that investors in Saudi Arabia had been funding offers to buy land at above market value in northern Israel, where a majority of Israeli Arab citizens live.
In turn, Palestinians have been critical of funding that Israeli pro-settlement groups receive from private donors overseas to buy land for settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory captured in a 1967 Middle East war.
Apparently lost on Fisher-Ilan is the key distinction between the two projects: in the former case, a foreign government is engaged in a systematic effort to alter the demographic balance of another sovereign by funding land purchases (illegal in most countries); in the latter case, private individuals are financially supporting housing in a territory which remains formally unallocated and into which Jewish settlement was officially sanctioned by the international community nine decades ago.

Critical thinking however, has never been a strong suit of the radical left.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reuters still misconstruing, denying Jewish rights to live in territories

Ask a Reuters correspondent why Jews feel they have rights to live in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and he or she is sure to scoff it is because they see it as their "biblical birthright".  In the nearly 500 Reuters stories we have covered over the last 18 months, not once has a Reuters staffer had the integrity to report that Jews were granted the legal right, under League of Nations and United Nations resolutions, to live anywhere in the original Palestine Mandate west of the Jordan River.  Despite numerous Arab and subsequent European attempts to marginalize and in some cases, criminalize Jewish settlements, these internationally sanctioned rights have never been abrogated.  Yet, Reuters correspondents persist in their duplicitous efforts to suggest that settlements in Judea and Samaria are illegal:
Some 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war.
Palestinians fear settlements, which the World Court has deemed illegal, will deny them a viable state. They say construction in settlements must stop before peace talks, frozen some three weeks after they began in September, can resume.
As we're noted many times, the opinion by the World Court in 2004 with regards to the Israeli security barrier was just that, an opinion, entirely advisory and non-binding as per the court's own published charter:
It is of the essence of such opinions that they are advisory, i.e., that, unlike the Court’s judgments, they have no binding effect.
Thus does Reuters, which is deeply hostile to Jewish nationalism and legal rights, spuriously cite a wholly irrelevant body and its opinion rather than the only resolution of genuine standing on the matter.

A continuing and grave violation of the Reuters Trust Principles and code of ethics.