Friday, April 29, 2011

Grow up, Jeffrey

Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller, who has worked for the agency for the better part of three decades, refuses to grow up.

Grown-ups own-up to the truth, particularly when they are obliged to do so under their employer's corporate governance charter.  They don't let their own magical thinking or egocentricity sully their employer's reputation for accuracy and fairness.  They don't mislead with the puerile hope that they will not be found out.

Regrettably, Heller continues to demonstrate that he is not a grown-up:
Peace talks between Israel and Abbas's administration resumed in September in Washington but quickly fizzled after Prime Minister Benjamain Netanyahu refused to extend a partial building freeze in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Heller knows that peace talks did not "fizzle" but rather, were unilaterally rejected by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  Heller knows that the Israeli Prime Minister has repeatedly implored the Palestinians to return to peace talks without conditions.  And Heller knows that Abbas' rejection of these talks represents just the latest chapter in years of Palestinian intransigence.

Heller refuses to disclose these facts however, because he personally identifies with the Palestinians.  He relates to their sense of entitlement.  He sympathizes with their self-imposed victimhood.  And he admires their ability to manipulate the adult world, with threats and tantrums, into getting what they want.

Time to grow up, Jeffrey.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Landslide bias

Following its 1948-49 invasion, conquest, and illegal occupation of land sandwiched between the nascent state of Israel and the Jordan River, the Kingdom of Transjordan ethnically cleansed the entire Jewish population from the area.  The territory was subsequently dubbed by its new Arab rulers "the West Bank", a reference to its location on the west bank of the Jordan.  Israel's appellation for the land is "Judea and Samaria" a reference extending back some three millennia to the existence of the Kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

The competing designations reflect competing claims to the land and thus, an unresolved dispute over sovereignty between the Jews and the Arabs.  Under such circumstances, Reuters is compelled by its commitment to be socially responsible to provide readers with both of these competing designations:
We must be on alert for language that could imply support for one side of a conflict, sympathy for a point of view, or an ethnocentric vantage point. We should, for example, provide the dual names of disputed territories. We must not parrot any loaded expressions used by our sources, except in quotes and official titles. Generic references to a specific country as “the homeland” for example, are unwelcome.
In practice however, Reuters fails miserably in this commitment, referring to the land as "the West Bank" versus "Judea and Samaria" by a ratio of over 150:1.

When quoting Arab politicians for example, Reuters almost never clarifies that "the West Bank" is synonymous with "Judea and Samaria".  Conversely, when an Israeli politician, in this case, the Prime Minister, identifies the territory using Israel's appellation, Reuters correspondents Mohammed Assadi, Ori Lewis and Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer are punctilious about including the Arab-ethnocentric name for the same:
He [Netanyahu] said the surprise announcement of a reconciliation deal "exposes the Palestinian Authority's weakness and raises questions whether Hamas will take hold of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as it took hold of the Gaza Strip."
Reuters, meticulous in its bias.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

When it comes to the Arabs, Reuters cannot muster the "O" word

When writing about the Middle East conflict, Reuters correspondents relish use of the word "occupation" to describe the control of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") by Israeli forces after the 1967 Six-Day War.  Although this territory is claimed by both Israel and the Palestinian Arabs and remains officially unallocated, Reuters liberally uses the term "occupied" as a form of innuendo to suggest that Israel is usurping Arab land.

On the other hand, when an Arab state has been occupying another sovereign's territory, sometimes for decades, Reuters is careful not to use the "o" word:
Tiny Lebanon, with around four million people, has always been a battleground for bigger regional powers. Syria, which had a military presence for 29 years until 2005, remains the most influential external player in Lebanon's sectarian politics.
It's just a "presence" you see; no trespass, foreign control, or violations of international law involved.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reuters hero

In another of its farcical Fantasybox "Factbox" series, Reuters kisses up to Syria's dictator, Bashar al-Assad.  Here are the first five biographical items in the agency's hagiography of this murderous tyrant:
-- The world welcomed the British-trained eye doctor in 2000 as a potential pioneer of reform in autocratic Syria.
-- The soft-spoken Bashar took office after the death of his formidable father Hafez al-Assad, who brooked no dissent and refused to bend in the Arab-Israeli conflict for 30 years.
-- Assad did appoint a cabinet at the end of 2001 packed with Western-trained technocrats in economic portfolios charged with developing a modern financial system to draw foreign investors.
-- The most visible result was a swathe of legislation to ease financial restrictions and establish private banks.
-- In 2003, Assad reshuffled the cabinet citing disappointment with the pace of reform. He made more changes in 2004.
Well, now that we know the "soft-spoken... British-trained eye doctor" appointed a Western-trained cabinet to ease financial restrictions and establish private banks, perhaps Reuters London Editorial Reference Unit writer David Cutler can explain in a bit more detail how:
more than 300 people have died in violence since the unrest broke out on March 18 in the southern city of Deraa.
Then again, perhaps not.  After all, Reuters wouldn't want to find more of its field correspondents arrested or excommunicated by the soft-spoken eye doctor.

In violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, Cutler then parrots an Arab euphemism:
-- He has said he is willing to resume peace talks with Israel, insisting on a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights occupied in 1967, while continuing to position Syria as a self declared champion of Arab resistance to the Jewish state.
to conceal the perennial Arab bloodlust to destroy Israel and murder its citizens:
“We say: We shall never call for, nor accept peace. We shall only accept war and the restoration of the usurped land. We resolved to drench this land with our blood, to oust you, aggressors, and throw you into the sea for good...We must meet as soon as possible and fight a single liberation war on the level of the whole area against Israel.”
-- May 24, 1966, Hafiz al-Assad
"If they [Israel] say you can have the entire Golan back, we will have a peace treaty.  But they cannot expect me to give them the peace they expect…. You start with the land; you do not start with peace."
-- February 3, 2010, Bashar al-Assad

Friday, April 22, 2011

Reuters is consistent

One thing we can say about Reuters: the agency is consistent.

Consistent in its use of classic propaganda techniques to obfuscate history and reality when writing about the Middle East conflict.

Take for example, this story by correspondent Patrick Worsnip about a comment by UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Lynn Pascoe, before a monthly meeting of the Security Council.

Pascoe reportedly called for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs to resume so as to advance the much ballyhooed "two-state solution" proposed by the Quartet.

Note first how Worsnip trumpets Pascoe's talking point as an official statement by the United Nations:
(Reuters) - The United Nations called on Thursday for "bold and decisive steps" to relaunch the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as the region awaits a possible new initiative by U.S. President Barack Obama.
As we've previously noted, Reuters clearly identifies and lauds the UN when representatives of the august body issue declarations consistent with Reuters own political agenda.  This, in an effort to give the declaration greater authority and an aura of universality.  On the other hand, when the United Nations issues an official finding or passes a resolution unpalatable to Reuters correspondents, agency stories regularly conceal or downplay the broad authoritative and consensual nature of the decree, alternatively characterizing it as a product of "the West".

Worsnip is consistent as well, in his use of card stacking to portray Israel as intransigent and culpable for failed negotiations with the Palestinians.
Peace talks opened last September with the aim of an accord in one year but quickly broke down after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to extend a partial freeze on Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank.
No mention of course, that the freeze on Jewish settlement building in Judea and Samaria represented a unilateral and unprecedented concession to the Palestinian Arabs by Israel nor that the concession went unrequited as the Palestinians refused to enter into negotiations until three weeks remained in the 10-month freeze.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Allyn Fisher-Ilan's theory for why Goldstone recanted

Mendacious Reuters correspondent and astrology freak Allyn Fisher-Ilan has a theory for why Richard Goldstone recanted the central thesis in his infamous report on the 2008-09 Gaza war between Hamas and Israel:
After months of being lambasted by Israel over the accusations, Goldstone published a column in the Washington Post this month, qualifying a central charge that he had rendered.
Of course, for a pathological Israel-hater like Fisher-Ilan, Goldstone's retraction of his original accusations against Israel, proven false by the meticulous work of researchers and bloggers, could not possibly be due to the jurist realizing he was mistaken.  No; it can only be explained as a reaction to "being lambasted by Israel".

Fisher-Ilan then completely mangles Goldstone's redress as published in the Washington Post:  
Israel has long accused the Human Rights Council of bias and refused to cooperate with Goldstone's mission, a stance he cited in his recent article, saying his findings might have been different had Israel been more forthcoming.
Here's what Goldstone actually wrote:
If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document... The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion.
So his report would have been different (definitively), not "might have been different" as Fisher-Ilan misrepresents.  And although Goldstone laments Israel's refusal to cooperate with his investigation, the fact is, he and his commission accepted at face value, testimony from Hamas officials and drew erroneous conclusions based on that testimony without availing themselves of countervailing evidence in the public domain which would have exculpated Israel.

It is that recognition now, 19 months after the original publication of his report, which led to Goldstone's recanter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Reuters writes Jewish history out of Gaza

There is a scene in Steven Spielberg's Oscar-winning film Schindler's List where the Nazi commandant Goeth addresses the Jews at a concentration camp worksite:
"Today is history. The young will ask with wonder about this day. Today is history and you are a part of it... When, elsewhere, they were footing the blame for the Black Death, Kazimierz the Great, so called, told the Jews they could come to Cracow. They came... They trundled their belongings into this city, they settled, they took hold, they prospered... For six centuries, there has been a Jewish Cracow... By this weekend, those six centuries, they're a rumor. They never happened. Today is history."
In a hauntingly similar vein, Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi writes of the history of Gaza:
Five thousand years of fascinating history lie beneath the sands of the Gaza Strip, from blinded biblical hero Samson to British general Allenby.
The flat, sandy lands on the Mediterranean's southeastern shore have been ruled by Ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders. Alexander the Great besieged the city. Emperor Hadrian visited. Mongols raided Gaza, and 1,400 years ago Islamic armies invaded. Gaza has been part of the Ottoman Empire, a camp for Napoleon and a First World War battleground [...]
Waleed Al-Aqqad is an amateur archaeologist who has turned his house into a museum of ancient artifacts, cramming his rooms with old weapons and a collection of clay jars centuries old.
"This is a clay-made oil-fueled lighting tool that goes back to the Greek era of 93 A.D. This is another that was made during the Roman time in 293 A.D," he says.
"This is a spear from the Ottoman times," he beams.
Marble plaques, swords and coins decorate the walls and the courtyard of his home in Khan Younis, adorned with the sign: "Welcome to Aqqad's Cultural Museum."
The 54-year-old Palestinian has spent 30 years searching and digging, sometimes in risky areas near the fortified Israeli border. Israel ended its 38-year occupation of Gaza and pulled out in 2005, but still blockades the hostile enclave.
His antiquities display symbols of the Christian and Muslim civilizations that have marked the territory over 2,000 years, recovered from the sites of ancient churches and cemeteries.
"I undertook this work in order to preserve Palestinian history. I wanted to salvage it from being wasted or falsified. I tried to save whatever can be saved," explains Aqqad, displaying a rusty cannon he says he hid from Israeli troops.
Other than the one oblique reference to "Samson", notice anything missing from al-Mughrabi's review of the "Palestinian history" of Gaza?  Um, let's see... there are the "Ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders".  There are the "Christians and Muslims".  And then of course, there are the "Israeli troops".  Ah yes, Al-Mughrabi appears to have forgotten the 4,000 years of Jewish civilization in the area.

All part and parcel of writing Jewish history out of the Middle East, courtesy of Reuters.

Libel by omission

The last we visited with Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan, they were serving as apologists for Hamas' attempted murder of Israeli school children and groping for words to conceal the fact that over six hundred Palestinian rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel since the end of the Gaza war in 2009.

In another story published on Tuesday, al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan take Israel to task for closing the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Gaza:
(Reuters) - Israel kept a commercial crossing with Hamas-ruled Gaza shut for a seventh day Tuesday although a truce had stopped cross-border fighting, and a UN official said he was "extremely worried" essential supplies may run out.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which provides aid to more than two thirds of Gaza's population of 1.5 million, said 172 truckloads of oil, sugar and flour were waiting to cross into the impoverished coastal territory.
Israel said it shut the crossings a week ago during a violent flare-up when Hamas militants fired an anti-tank rocket at a school bus, critically wounding an Israeli teen-ager, and Israel retaliated with air raids, killing 19 Palestinians.
The violence has subsided since Egyptian and UN mediators achieved an informal truce Sunday.
Israel has not yet reopened the terminal because of concern about security, an Israeli official said, adding that individual humanitarian cases were allowed into Israel at a separate crossing.
Christopher Gunness, an UNRWA spokesman, said he was "extremely worried" the commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom might not reopen before the Jewish Passover holiday begins on Monday evening, a time when Israel often shuts its crossings with Palestinian territories, citing security concerns.
The relief agency generally aims to send about 20 truckloads of sugar, flour, oil and school lunches into Gaza daily, and has only enough of these supplies stored in the territory to last until the end of the month, Gunness said.
Al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan are attempting to suggest here that Israel is putting the population in Gaza at risk by keeping the border closed and doing so unreasonably since "a truce had stopped cross-border fighting" and "the violence has subsided since Egyptian and UN mediators achieved an informal truce Sunday".  Going unreported however, is this tidbit:
At 6 o'clock Sunday morning 4/10/2011, the artillery unit of the Al-Quds Brigades shot 4 80 mm mortar shells toward the site "Karm Abu Salem," [Kerem Shalom] located east of the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, where shells hit their targets precisely, leading to the interruption of electricity to most parts of the site and spreading a state of confusion the soldiers present inside.
Which might explain why Israel has prudently maintained the closure.

Following another suggestion by al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan that "sugar, flour, oil and school lunches" will run out at the end of the month unless the Kerem Shalom crossing is opened, the two Reuters correspondents tell us:
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said 150 types of basic medicines were lacking in the territory and that a cooking gas shortage also loomed.
The suggestion here of course, that Israel is also responsible for the lack of medicines in Gaza.

But the chronic shortages in Gaza are actually due to the ongoing conflict between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority:
The World Health Organization (WHO) is negotiating with the two Palestinian health authorities to reach a long-term agreement that would end chronic drug shortages, which affect patients first.
The lack of cooperation between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and authorities in the Gaza Strip harms the Gaza health system. For example, a strike was called in 2008 in the Gaza public hospital system. The health facilities estimated that 50 – 80% of health workers -- trapped in the conflict of interests between the two "competing" health authorities – observed the strike.

Al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan show us it's much easier to libel Israelis than to report the facts.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reuters draws moral equivalence between slaughter of Fogel family and Israeli attempts to identify murderers

A year ago, we would have perhaps begun this post with an expression of dismay in response to the zeal with which Reuters correspondents seek to demonize Israel and the deeply dishonest manner in which they go about it.  No longer.  After covering nearly 600 Reuters stories on the Middle East conflict and documenting the agency's compulsive contempt for truth and decency, nothing surprises us anymore.

So it is with a story written by Reuters correspondent Mohammed Assadi and edited by Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer on Israel's ongoing investigation into the murder of the Fogel family on March 11th.

Assadi, a proven liar and patent propagandist for the Palestinian Arabs, and Balmer, who could not bring himself to characterize the recent Jerusalem bus bombing as terrorism (though even the Palestinian Prime Minister described it as such), attempt to draw a moral equivalence between the unspeakable butchering of the Fogel family and attempts to discover the identity of the murderers.
(Reuters) - Israeli troops briefly detained about 100 women in the West Bank early on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into the murder last month of a young Jewish settler family, locals said.  The women, many of them seized with their husbands, were released after police took their fingerprints and DNA samples [...]
Israeli officials blamed Palestinians for the murders. No Palestinian group had claimed responsibility and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has described the killing as inhumane.
Israeli investigators have repeatedly descended on Awarta since the killing and the head of the village council, Qais Awwad, said troops entered houses overnight, taking away women aged between 20 to 80 in armored trucks to a detention center.
Actually, Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade was reported, by both the Washington Post and The Guardian, to have taken responsibility for the attack.

But the despicable journalistic chicanery in this story, which reflects Assadi and Balmer's lack of professional integrity as well as their irrationality, centers on the employ of a quote from one of the Palestinian women taken in for fingerprinting:
Sumayyah Shurrab, 30, said she had to take her 11-month old child with her. After fingerprint and DNA checks she was taken back to Awarta.
"They told me they wanted to compare them with finger prints they found in the settlement," she said.
"This was a very inhuman act," she added.
Got that? The fingerprinting and DNA check of a suspect in the mass murder of a family is an "inhuman act".  Whereas the mass murder itself is... er, according to Reuters citing of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, merely "inhumane".

But it gets worse.  Abbas didn't say the murders were "inhumane".  He said they were "inhuman":
“This act was abominable, inhuman and immoral,” Mr. Abbas said in a rare interview with Israel Radio that was conducted in Arabic.
So Reuters has deliberately misquoted the Palestinian President in order to minimize the universally-recognized barbaric nature of the crime while featuring a quote from a suspect to suggest that it is the investigative practices that are actually barbaric.

A truly Orwellian inversion brought to you by the immoral media company more Palestinian than the Palestinians.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Palestinians boast of 100% power connectivity; Reuters blamed Israel for "depriving" Palestinians of electricity three months ago

Like a hit-and-run driver who never looks back at those killed and maimed by his reckless behavior, Reuters is infamous for picking up the flimsiest story intended to defame Israel, selling it to hundreds of media outlets for publication, and never again revisiting the story despite the revelation of facts which discredit the original report.  The damage done to the people of Israel by such irresponsible journalism is incalculable.

For example, just over three months ago, Reuters was busy parroting a report by Human Rights Watch that claimed:
"Israeli policies in the West Bank harshly discriminate against Palestinian residents, depriving them of basic necessities while providing lavish amenities for Jewish settlements," the New York-based organization said [...]
Israel was carrying out "systematic discrimination merely because of (Palestinians') race, ethnicity and national origin, depriving them of electricity, water, schools and access to roads."
We pointed out at the time that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for providing electricity to Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), much of this purchased from Israeli companies.  The one case of Israel rejecting an application to connect Palestinians to the power grid was that of a village of 150 people which Human Rights Watch and Reuters then absurdly generalized to accuse Israel of "systematic discrimination" against the Palestinians by "depriving them of basic necessities". 

Fast forward to today and a Reuters story about Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad preparing to present a report to countries donating over a billion dollars a year to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.  According to Reuters, Fayyad's report touts the use of European and American taxpayer funds "to create justice, education, energy, health, water, security and housing services".

The money line?
Fayyad said his government had connected all Palestinian residential areas, including remote ones, to the electricity grid, and paved and fixed 2,250 km (1,400 miles) of streets.
From utter deprivation to full service in three months.  Astonishing!

What Reuters doesn't want you to know

RMEW calls attention to the frequent errors, bias, and overt propaganda devices in regular use by Reuters correspondents in their reporting on the Middle East conflict.  A particularly insidious propaganda ploy, not plainly visible, is known in media studies as card stacking or selective omission.  Here, the propagandist deliberately omits essential information or context necessary for the audience to fully understand the story and draw a considered conclusion as to what has occurred and why.

In many cases, Reuters omits coverage of an important story entirely because it does not fit the agency's political agenda.  This is primarily due to a decision taken by the managing editor at the bureau who, with his or her power to dictate what is published, controls the flow of information and is referred to in media studies as the gatekeeper.  (The current Editor-in-Charge at Reuters Jerusalem Bureau is Jeffrey Heller and the current Bureau Chief is Crispian Balmer).

One such example of the above was Reuters failure to report on the story of a Facebook page, with 350,000 supporters, calling on Palestinians to take up arms against Israel and for genocide of the Jews.  Both the Associated Press and AFP covered the story.

We highlight many of these stories in our right-hand column, "Reuters Censoring", and provide links to alternative sources which report rather than suppress the news.  Have a look to see what Reuters would prefer you not know.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reuters quotes "Israel"

Reporting on Israeli bombing in Gaza in response to the Hamas attack on a school bus and more than one-hundred Palestinian rockets and mortars fired into Israel, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan write:
Israel has said it wants to teach Hamas a lesson for that attack, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday amounted to "crossing a line," adding that "whoever tries to attack and murder children puts his life on the line."
Note that al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan do not actually cite any official as saying Israel "wants to teach Hamas a lesson".  And it's clear from the sentence construction that the Israeli Prime Minister, who is quoted otherwise, didn't say this.  In fact, we don't know who said it.  Probably, no one said it.  Rather, we are told that "Israel", the country, has made this statement.

This isn't merely a gross journalistic error and a violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, it's a deliberate attempt by Reuters to portray the Israelis as vindictive and imperious.  You see, the Israelis are not simply defending themselves against unprovoked rocket attacks on children and civilian communities, they are intent on meting out to the Palestinians, indelible punishment.

At least so says "Israel".

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Reuters parrots Hamas propaganda; fails to report on previous Hamas admission

Hamas parrots and part-time Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan leap to apologize for the terrorist group:
Hamas says didn't mean to target Israeli schoolbus
(Reuters) - Hamas said on Saturday its militants did not intend to target Israeli schoolchildren when they fired a rocket at a bus two days ago, critically wounding a teenager and sparking the latest round of border fighting.
"It was not known that the bus targeted on the outskirts of Gaza carried schoolchildren," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters, adding that the road where the bus was travelling was often used by Israeli military vehicles.
Al-Mughrabi and Fisher-Ilan make no mention of the fact that Hamas had previously boasted admitted that, with a Kornet laser-guided anti-tank missile system, it "targeted the bus of the occupation".

Apparently, we are now to believe the 5,500-meter range weapon directed by an all-weather day or night thermal sight, mistakenly identified the Israeli school bus as an IDF tank.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

English lesson for Reuters

De facto: in reality; actually
-- Merriam Webster

In a story on an exchange of fire between Hamas and the Israel Defense Forces following a Palestinian direct hit on an Israeli school bus with an anti-tank missile which seriously wounded a teenage boy, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Douglas Hamilton write:
Israel and Hamas had signaled readiness to return to a de facto ceasefire which has kept the border relatively quiet since the end of the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza war.
As we have previously noted, there have been over five-hundred rockets and mortars fired into Israel by Palestinian terrorists since the end of the Gaza war, an attack on average two out of every three days.

Here's another definition for Reuters:

Fabrication: a product of fabrication; especially lie, falsehood

UPDATE APRIL 8th: In the most recent generation of this story, a "de facto ceasefire" has become:
Two years of low-level skirmishing on the border escalated suddenly last month when Hamas, which rules Gaza, fired a barrage of rockets at Israel, triggering a surge of fighting in which 18 Palestinians were killed.
An example of that renowned Reuters "transparency" Dean Wright was so excited about.

UPDATE APRIL 9th: In the latest iteration of the story, Reuters' al-Mughrabi and Allyn Fisher-Ilan obfuscate and regress to their previous fabrication:
Two years of periodic, low-level skirmishing on the border escalated suddenly last month when Hamas showered rockets on Israel. Hamas had largely withheld fire since a Gaza war in late 2008 in which 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
Tip for Reuters correspondents: reporting the facts requires much less energy (and fewer revisions).

Do the Palestinians want their capital in Jerusalem or "East Jerusalem"?

Reuters makes a practice of referring to the Old City of Jerusalem, the original city of Jerusalem with its treasure of holy sites and historic relics, as East Jerusalem (capital "E").  In so doing, the agency is attempting to manufacture a fictitious identity for a city that has existed for over three-thousand years and was only referred to as "east Jerusalem" following the 1948 Israeli War of Independence and Jordan's invasion, conquest, and illegal occupation of the Old City.  This resulted in a division of the city at the time between western suburbs under Israeli control and to the east, the heart of the ancient city under Jordanian control.  Hence the designation, east Jerusalem.

This distinction has become increasingly important as the Palestinian Arabs seek to obtain sole sovereign control over the city of Jerusalem as evidenced by their many references to the same.  Following then presidential candidate Barack Obama's speech to AIPAC in June of 2008 where he stated that Jerusalem must remain the undivided capital of Israel, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas replied:
"This statement is totally rejected," Abbas told reporters.
"The whole world knows that holy Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 and we will not accept a Palestinian state without having Jerusalem as the capital."
And again in January 2010:
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared on Thursday that Palestinians would not accept any alternative to Jerusalem as the capital of a future state, despite other proposals.
Abbas told Russian television that Jerusalem should not be divided and that there should be free passage for people of various faiths. The Palestinian leader added it must be made clear what belongs to the Palestinians and what belongs to Israel.
Note that while Abbas refers to "East Jerusalem" when commenting on Jewish building there, he is quite clear that it is Jerusalem (full stop) that is being contested:
"If I enter negotiations with them and the building in East Jerusalem continues, Israel will be saying that Jerusalem is theirs. So why would I agree to negotiate while building in East Jerusalem continues?"
The constitution of Abbas' Fatah party also makes clear what the Palestinians are after:
Article (13) Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens' legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination.
The repeated reference to East Jerusalem by Reuters and other partisans of the Palestinian cause is simply a fig leaf to conceal the Palestinian objective of controlling the ancient city and its holy sites, leaving Israel with the scraps of the western suburbs.

Occasionally of course, even Reuters miscues:
The Palestinians dream of establishing a capital for their longed-desired independent state in nearby Jerusalem. But that city is fully controlled by Israel and with no Middle East peace deal in sight, Ramallah has rapidly risen to the fore.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Dean Wright stepping down

Dean Wright, Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards for Reuters, is leaving the company.  Wright's profile on the Reuters website reads:
He leads the process of reviewing, establishing and encouraging adherence to standards in Thomson Reuters journalism and works with editors to promote innovation. He writes a regular column and works with Editor in Chief David Schlesinger in maintaining the editorial relationship with the Reuters trustees and upholding and promoting the Reuters Trust Principles
In his final "regular" column for Reuters (six months after his last column),Wright writes:
After six of the most rewarding years in my career, this is my final week at Reuters as global editor for ethics and standards.  In this role, it’s been my job to make sure Reuters journalists have the guidance, tools and oversight to help them practice journalism in a way that is consistent with the highest ethics and standards [...]
We also heard from people who pointed out occasional inconsistencies between the handbook guidance and the way we actually reported stories. And that’s great–because we believe in transparency.
"Occasional inconsistencies"?  Our 500+ posts over the last 19 months documenting systematic bias, the liberal use of propaganda, deep dishonesty, and outright racism demonstrated by Reuters correspondents reporting on the Middle East conflict puts lie to any notion that journalism is being practiced "consistent with the highest ethics and standards".  Although Reuters does provide its staff with guidance and tools to comply with ethical journalism standards, in the form of the much-vaunted Thomson Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism, the oversight function Wright refers to has clearly and utterly failed.

If Reuters believes in transparency, why doesn't the agency always correct errors openly, as promised by The 10 Absolutes of Reuters Journalism?  Why didn't the agency formally acknowledge and apologize to readers for the publication of doctored photographs in violation of its commitment to "never alter a still or moving image beyond the requirements of normal image enhancement"?  Why does Reuters regularly publish pieces that clearly fall into the category of op-eds while refusing to identify them as such?

Wright continues:
Not all interactions have been so pleasant. Partisans on all sides of Middle East issues are particularly prone to alleging bias in our reporting—and I’ve long since lost hope of convincing them that journalists can indeed put aside their own viewpoints and even ethnic backgrounds and report a story fairly and completely. That’s what our journalists do every day.
Interesting that Wright should point specifically to claims of bias in Reuters Middle East reporting.  There are hundreds of other military conflicts and political contests ongoing in the world with partisan and passionate observers.  Why, we wonder, do Wright and Reuters feel the heat so intensely in this area of reporting?  Could it be in fact, that Reuters journalists writing on the Middle East consistently fail to put aside their own viewpoints and report a story fairly and completely?

Not according to Wright:
And judging from my contacts with the Reuters journalists who do the hard work of daily journalism, they’re less cynical and more idealistic than ever. So many have told me that they see themselves as evangelists of truth, of independent reporting and the free flow of information. For most, this is much more than a job. They believe, as do I, that the world would be a poorer, meaner place without their efforts.
Which only goes to show that denial is not just a river in Egypt.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Racist Allyn Fisher-Ilan at it again

From a story by Reuters racist Allyn Fisher-Ilan:
The Palestinians want a state covering all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip with Arab East Jerusalem as their capital and a settlement of the refugee issue. They have declined comment on the initiative, saying they want to see its text first.
For the umpteenth time, there is no such place as "Arab East Jerusalem", and reference to it is ahistorical, biased, and racist.  The eastern part of the city of Jerusalem was designated such by the Jordanian-led Arab Legion in 1949 following its invasion, conquest and ethnic cleansing of the area of Jews.  This status lasted a mere 19 years of a municipal history spanning over three-thousand years during which time Jews founded the city, built its roads and Temples, and constituted its majority religio-ethnic community for centuries before the arrival of colonizing Arabs.

Fisher-Ilan is peddling a propaganda mantra here in an unethical attempt to influence her readers to accept the false notion that Jerusalem belongs to the Arabs.

In so doing, she's violating her firm's corporate governance charter, endorsing the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Jerusalem, and betraying her hardcore racism.

Jewish Jerusalem before and after ethnic cleansing by the Arab Legion.

Reuters: big, bad Israelis to deport owner of book-shop-to-the-stars

One of the great long-running scams run by Reuters Middle East bureau is to focus obsessively on Israeli immigration policy and portray every deportation or detention as an international human rights scandal.  Very little context is provided in these reports and never do Reuters correspondents compare Israeli policy with that of other governments, generally held in high regard for purported just and humane treatment of migrants.

In 2009 for example, we commented on a story by Douglas Hamilton where the Reuters correspondent sought to demonize Israel for rescinding the residency status of those Palestinians who spend more than seven consecutive years outside the country, or take foreign domicile or citizenship.  We noted that many countries in Europe, including France for example, have similar or even more draconian residency laws -- yet Reuters makes no mention of this.

In February 2010, we noted news of the Kingdom of Jordan arbitrarily stripping thousands of Palestinians of their citizenship.  Reuters failed to even cover the story.

And in November 2010, we commented on a repulsive piece edited by Hamilton which sought to draw a parallel between a holding facility for migrants Israel had been considering and the Nazi concentration camps.

Now comes a story by Reuters correspondent Maayan Lubell about a Palestinian bookseller in Jerusalem who faces deportation following a decision by the Israeli Supreme Court due to the fact that he left Israel -- in 1973 -- to study and live in the United States where he acquired citizenship.  Lubell's transparent appeal to pity entitled:
Israelis defend threatened Palestinian bookseller [italics ours]
tells the tale of Munther Fahmi and his celebrity Israeli supporters like author David Grossman:
"I think it's a scandal that the Israeli government wants to deport a man born here in Jerusalem, who has family and such a special business here. He just wants to continue his life," Grossman told Reuters.
Literature, history, art and even local cuisine cookbooks are stacked to the ceiling in Fahmi's store, lining the walls of the narrow shop which has been dubbed by some as the only decent English-language book store in the country. The shop sits opposite the distinguished American Colony hotel, a favorite of top diplomats, ex-pats and foreign journalists. Fahmi says they all frequent his business.
"Presidents, prime ministers, historians, even Hollywood stars, from Kofi Annan to Uma Thurman -- they have all been here," Fahmi said.
Well, the fact that Uma Thurman shops at Fahmi's store is clearly evidence of Israel's crimes against humanity in seeking to deport Fahmi after 38 years of life and citizenship in America.

Perhaps for its next story on unjust deportation practices, Reuters can focus on the child detention facility the British government is building in Sussex.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Stuporous slander

Like an alcoholic who catches a whiff of scotch and cannot resist diving in, when a Reuters correspondent indulges himself, pen in hand, with a story on the Middle East, the temptation to slander Israel is simply overwhelming.

So it is with Reuters "special correspondent" and hard-core propagandist Alistair Lyon.  In a 1,504 word op-ed (misleadingly characterized as "Analysis") about current unrest in the Arab world and its potential to transform the political landscape, Lyon can barely get past his lede before gratuitously and maliciously dumping on Israel:
Israel's American-backed attempts to bomb Hezbollah and south Lebanon into submission in 2006 did not change the region, as Condoleezza Rice predicted it would.
Lyon is suggesting here that the US used or encouraged Israel to attack Hezbollah and Lebanon in an effort to alter Middle East politics but of course, Secretary of State Rice never suggested anything remotely along the lines that "bombing Hezbollah and southern Lebanon into submission" would change the region, nor was that Israel's objective in a war initiated by Hezbollah.  (Given Israel's air defense capabilities, we dare say that if Israel's goal were to bomb Lebanon and its illegal terrorist militias "into submission", we might have seen destruction in Beirut on a scale depicted in Reuters notorious doctored photographs).

Lyon glibly misrepresents Condoleezza Rice and libels Israel but fails to recount the events which led Israel to enter the war against Hezbollah in 2006 so here is a reminder: 
The fighting on the Lebanese border erupted around 9 a.m., when Hezbollah attacked several Israeli towns with rocket fire, wounding several civilians, the Israeli military said. Israeli civilians rushed into their bomb shelters and many remained there through the day.
But that attack was a diversion for the main operation, several miles to the east, where Hezbollah militants fired antitank missiles at two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence, the military said. Of the seven soldiers in the two jeeps, three were killed, two were wounded and two were abducted, the military said.
Hezbollah ultimately fired some 4,000 rockets into Israeli cities, damaging hundreds of homes and forcing millions of Israelis into bomb shelters for weeks.

Thus, the war was foist upon Israel which fought back with both air power and ground troops in an effort to recover the abducted soldiers, protect its citizens, and deter further Hezbollah aggression.

Reuters Middle East correspondents readily succumb to the temptation to slander Israel; it requires a good deal more sobriety to report the truth.  Perhaps they can be persuaded to enter a twelve-step program.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Goldstone "reconsiders" his Gaza war report in a WaPo editorial

In an exceptional act of contrition couched in words of considered reflection, Richard Goldstone, author of the much-cited report bearing his name on the 2008-09 Gaza war between Hamas and Israel, "reconsiders" his own findings:
We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report.  If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.  The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”  Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas.  That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.  The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion.  While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy [...]
Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.
Reuters has yet to report on Goldstone's remarkable reversal.  We eagerly await the agency's spin.

Reuters pathologically incapable of calling a spade a spade

In an op-ed ("Analysis" in Reuters opaque parlance) published last month, Reuters religion editor Tom Heneghan attempts to win his audience to the notion that there are fundamental distinctions between Islamists.
(Reuters) - Politicians and pundits wondering if Islamists will soon take power in Egypt or Tunisia might usefully ask first what the term "Islamist" means and what the Muslim leaders it describes say they want to do.
"Islamist" denotes an ideology that uses Islam to promote political goals. But it is so broad a term that it can apply both to Shi'ite Iran's anti-Western theocracy and to pro-business Sunnis trying to get Turkey into the European Union.
While the politically charged word can evoke violent action, such as that of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, many Islamists say they abhor the use of force and want to work within the law.
"We have to distinguish between different combinations of Islam and politics," said Mustafa Akyol, a columnist in Istanbul for Hurriyet Daily News. "A party can take its values and inspiration from Islam but still accept a secular state."
We will leave it to the esteemed scholars in Islam to debate the question of whether those whose motto is:
"Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope"
can seriously be considered to "abhor the use of force".  But note how Heneghan employs a misleading and Arab ethnocentric euphemism in violation of the Reuters Handbook to conceal the reason specific Arab militias are classed as terrorist groups:
Hezbollah and Hamas are classified as terrorist groups by the United States, not because they are Islamist but because they advocate armed struggle, especially against Israel.
Hezbollah and Hamas are classified as terrorist groups (the European Union also identifies Hamas as such) not because they "advocate armed struggle" but because they actively try to kill civilians in order to further their stated political aims, which include genocide of the Jewish people.

A clear and concise statement of fact, but one that holds no propaganda value and is therefore, completely anathema to Reuters.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Reuters correspondent and photographer "missing" in Syria

Reuters reported on Wednesday that two more of its employees have gone "missing" in Syria:
Diplomatic sources said on Wednesday that correspondent Suleiman al-Khalidi, a Jordanian national based in Amman, had been detained by the Syrian authorities in Damascus on Tuesday.
Photographer Khaled al-Hariri, a Syrian based in Damascus, has not been in contact with colleagues since Monday.
A Syrian official said authorities were working to establish what had happened to the two men[...]
Their disappearance follows the detention in Syria of two Reuters television journalists, producer Ayat Basma and cameraman Ezzat Baltaji. They were held incommunicado for two days before being released by Syrian authorities on Monday. 
Both Lebanese, they were expelled to Lebanon. They had been working in Syria since the previous week. 
Reuters correspondent Khaled Yacoub Oweis, a Jordanian who had been based in Damascus, was expelled from Syria on Friday for what a Syrian Information Ministry official described as his "unprofessional and false" coverage of events.
This follows attacks on Reuters offices in Gaza by Hamas in late March when journalists were beaten and threatened

Journalists reporting on unrest in the Arab world have also been intimidated, arrested and/or deported by authorities in Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.