Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Reuters: Egyptians want more "assertive" policy with Israel

Reuters loves an angry Arab mob -- particularly when the anger is aimed at Israel.  Just ask correspondent Dina Zayed who apparently gets a thrill running up her leg over the recent Egyptian protests in front of the Israeli embassy and demands for Egypt to take a more "assertive" policy with Israel:
(Reuters) - Ahmed al-Shahat clambered up the fa├žade of Israel's high-rise Cairo embassy, scaling over 21 floors, to pull down the flag of the Jewish state and replace it with Egypt's national colours.
"Raise your head high -- you are Egyptians," thousands cried as Shahat, now known as "Flagman", tore down the white and blue Israeli flag to applause, fireworks and nervous inaction from hundreds of soldiers and police at the scene.
Egyptians long unable to display their hostility to Egypt's perceived passive and often complacent ties with Israel under former president Hosni Mubarak were showing they were no longer afraid to vent their frustration in public.
The generals ruling Egypt since Mubarak's overthrow in February are faced with a dilemma to pursue a more assertive policy towards Israel in line with public opinion, while still protecting the integrity of a peace treaty that gives them billions of dollars in U.S. aid.
"The Egyptian policy towards Israel has not been very popular in the last 15 years and the public wants a more assertive policy towards Israel," Ezzedine Choukri-Fishere of the American University in Cairo said.
"The deep-seated feeling among a majority of Egyptians - including those that support peace -- is that policies towards Israel are too soft and sometimes complacent. This policy has to change and this is what these events point to," he said.
Protesters camped in front of the Israeli embassy for more than a week to show their anger over the killing of five Egyptian security men when Israeli forces pursued militants blamed for the death of eight Israelis.
Uh-huh.  The "death" [sic] of eight Israelis.  Zayed doesn't mention that the "militants" responsible for shooting dead the eight Israelis at point-blank range in a terror attack were Palestinian Arabs dressed as Egyptian soldiers.  And with renowned open and accurate reporting in the Arab media, we're quite sure that news never made it to the protesters outside the embassy either.

And while Zayed showers attention on the man who climbed 21 floors to tear down the Israeli flag as a proud symbol of the Egyptian public's newfound freedom to express its antipathy toward the Jewish state, the Reuters correspondent apparently missed another Egyptian man who demonstrated his feelings in an even more graphic way:



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

As long as we're on the subject of propaganda mantras...

There was yet another Arab terror attack in Israel yesterday.  A Palestinian man seized a taxi in Tel Aviv, stabbed the driver, crashed into a police roadblock, got out of the car and stabbed several other Israelis at the scene.  Here's how deeply dishonest Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan reports on the story:
(Reuters) - A Palestinian from the occupied West Bank commandeered a taxi in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv before dawn on Monday, stabbing the driver and then injuring seven others, including police officers, after crashing into a roadblock, a police spokeswoman said.
With her first seven words, Fisher-Ilan proclaims that the terrorist was from the "occupied West Bank", a propaganda mantra seen in over 2,000 Reuters stories in just the last few years.  Why propaganda?  Because the term West Bank is an Arab-ethnocentric term, assigned to the territory by the Arabs of then Transjordan following their ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population from the land in 1948-49.  Labeling the area the West Bank was an attempt by Jordan to erase claims to the territory by Jews who refer to it by its three-thousand-year-old name, Judea and Samaria.

As the territory in question has not been formally allocated to any sovereign and remains officially in dispute between Jews and Arabs, the appendage "occupied" to characterize its political state is also propagandistic.

Use of the term West Bank is not only propagandistic, it also represents a serious violation of the ethical guidelines set out in Reuters Handbook of Journalism:
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.
But perhaps most egregious of Fisher-Ilan's ethical lapses, is the deceptive manner in which she constructs her sentence to shift authorship of her own propaganda to that of the Israeli spokeswoman.  Let's have another look:
(Reuters) - A Palestinian from the occupied West Bank commandeered a taxi in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv before dawn on Monday, stabbing the driver and then injuring seven others, including police officers, after crashing into a roadblock, a police spokeswoman said.
Would an Israeli refer to the "occupied West Bank"?  Would a Brit refer to the "occupied Islas Malvinas" (Falkland Islands)?

Somehow, we think not.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The latest Reuters propaganda mantra: George Soros, "Holocaust Survivor"

Yesterday, we noted Reuters Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller's characterization of the radical left-wing billionaire George Soros as a "Holocaust survivor".  We pointed out that by his own admission, Soros collaborated with the Nazis and felt absolutely no remorse about it.

Of course, technically, Soros did survive the Holocaust.  But then, so did millions of other Nazi collaborators.  Not to mention millions of Nazis.

"Holocaust survivor" carries a very specific connotation, one of a sympathetic victim of Nazi persecution and death camps, who, by virtue of heroic action, random chance or sheer strength of will, managed to survive the systematic campaign to exterminate Europe's Jews.  We wouldn't place Nazi collaborators in the same category, particularly unrepentant ones, and we don't think many historians or linguists would do so either.

But a propagandistic outfit, looking to exploit nearly universal sympathy for genuine Holocaust survivors, might deliberately mischaracterize someone it is seeking to insulate from criticism as a "Holocaust survivor".

Reuters continues in that vein yesterday with another story on Glen Beck's visit to Israel written by Lucas Shaw and apparently drawn from the website TheWrap.com.  Formatted like a standard Reuters news article but reading like an attack piece, Shaw lashes out at Beck for a comment the latter apparently made about Jews or Israelis during his radio show:
But his [Beck's] love for Jews seems to vanish when they open their mouths -- which led him to make some remarks that will undoubtedly be interpreted as anti-Semitic.
Beck, who recently hosted a "Restoring Courage" rally in Israel, said on his radio show Thursday that Jews drive him crazy when they talk over one another.
"They're constantly talking! I don't know how that society even functions," Beck said.
He then compared them to members of a family of eight constantly interrupting one another at dinner [...] 
Yet he has also earned the ire of Jewish groups for his Nazi references and for his crusade against George Soros, a Holocaust survivor.
While we don't think Beck's remark reflected any malice toward Jews or Israelis, it's obvious that Shaw, Reuters, or both, are trying very hard to make it appear that Beck is antisemitic.  Clearly, Beck has become a target grande for those on the left who seek to divide Jewish opinion and fell popular figures who support Israel.

And note the sly use of propagandistic language: Beck's "crusade" (against a Jew) and once again, the mantra of "Holocaust survivor", intended to shelter Soros.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The "East Jerusalem" canard

Glance through almost any Reuters story on the Middle East conflict and you'll see their correspondents refer, consistently, to "East Jerusalem" (capital "E") when characterizing the territory demanded by the Palestinian Arabs for their capital in a peace deal with Israel.

This is very much by design.

The area Reuters robotically refers to as "East Jerusalem" is actually the eastern portion of the city of Jerusalem, including the Old City, with its treasure of religious and historical relics sacred to Judaism.  It became known as "east Jerusalem" (small "e") following invasion, ethnic cleansing of the Jews, and division of the city by Jordanian-controlled forces in 1948-49 which occupied the eastern part of the city until it was liberated in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.  Jerusalem, a city which had been Jerusalem for over three-thousand years and "east" Jerusalem for just nineteen of those years, was reunited.

Of course, Reuters doesn't provide and doesn't want its audience to understand this history.  On the contrary, its correspondents work diligently to dupe readers, with the propaganda mantra, "East Jerusalem" into seeing this area as a separate city from presumably (but never-identified) "West Jerusalem" with the suggestion that such a division in sovereignty between Arabs and Jews would be an equitable one.  Of course, it isn't equitable and of course, Reuters correspondents well understand this.  Deceitful and cunning they are; stupid they're not.

Ironically, and working against Reuters propaganda efforts, is the fact that in rare moments of candor, the Palestinian Arabs themselves, admit that what they demand in exchange for an end to their century-old war of terror against the Jews is not some fictitious construct Reuters calls "East Jerusalem" but simply and completely, Jerusalem.  In other words, the Arabs want the holy city, with all of its religious and historical relics including the surviving wall of the Jewish Temple, as their own.

When the Arabs last controlled this territory, during the Jordanian occupation, Jews were barred from praying in Jerusalem, synagogues were burned to the ground, and Jewish gravestones were used to build latrines and pave the streets.

This too, is a history Reuters correspondents carefully conceal.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Allyn Fisher-Ilan gives Hamas the last word

Following the ambush and execution of eight Israelis at point-blank range in Eilat last week, the Israel Defense Forces struck back, killing 13 members of Palestinian terror groups and 3 of their human shields.

Despite that "de facto" truce Reuters correspondent Nidal al-Mughrabi keeps telling us about, Palestinians have fired over 150 rockets and mortars into Israeli communities over the last few days.  One additional Israeli man has been killed by rocket fire, dozens have been injured, and thousands have been sent fleeing to shelters.

So how does Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan finish her latest dispatch on the situation?
Taher al-Nono, a Hamas spokesman, said any "understanding for calm must be mutual and we will not accept that Israel continues its killing of our people."
Straight to the public from the horse's mouth, via the horse's ass.

Glen Beck comes to Israel; Jeffrey Heller rubs his propagandistic palms together

Reuters Jerusalem Bureau correspondents are personally committed to doing what they can to encourage the demonization, isolation, and eradication of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.  So, a visit to the country by a pro-Israel media figure, a Christian with a popular following of tens of millions of people, is perceived by the Reuters crew as both a threat to their agenda as well as an irresistible opportunity for propaganda.

So it goes with Reuters Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller who reports on Glen Beck's rally adjacent to the Western Wall, a remnant of the Herodian Jewish Temple in Old Jerusalem:
But Beck's visit to Israel, where he was accompanied by evangelical Christian preachers, has been followed with trepidation by American Jewish critics, Israeli left-wing activists and Arab legislators who cautioned that he could stoke tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
"In Israel you can find people who will stand against incredible odds, against the entire tide of global opinion, just because it's right, just because it's good and just because it's true," Beck told an adoring audience of some 1,700 that included leaders of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank as well as right-wing Israeli politicians.
As we suggested above, the anti-Israel echo chamber that is Reuters' Jerusalem Bureau, is directly threatened by any popular force which brings an alternative view to light so the latter must be scoffed at lest it gain traction upon Reuters' own political advocacy.  Heller's mocking characterization of Beck's audience as "adoring" (would Heller use the same term to describe those acolytes attending left-wing rallies led by, say, Bill Maher?) as well as his use of the propaganda mantra, "occupied West Bank", in violation of the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, well illustrates our point.

Heller then rummages through the Reuters rubbish bin of other tired and discredited propaganda devices:
A Palestinian uprising erupted in 2000 after then-Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited the compound, which houses Islam's al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine and where two biblical Jewish temples once stood [...]. 
Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, a claim that is not recognized internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem, annexed by Israel after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, as the capital of a state they aspire to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel withdrew settlers from Gaza in 2005.
Employing the fallacy of post hoc erg propter hoc, Heller slyly suggests that the Palestinian terror war ("uprising") commencing in 2000 was due to Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, a canard we have debunked dozens of times.  He then sanctifies the location where Beck spoke as an Islamic holy place while downplaying its supreme religious and historical significance to Jews by referring to Solomon and Herod's Temples with the anonymous, "two biblical temples" (small "t").

The Reuters editor also artificially bifurcates the city of Jerusalem into two, with "East Jerusalem", the area of Jerusalem containing nearly all of Judaism's holy relics, cited as that demanded by Palestinian Arabs for their capital.  In fact, the Palestinians do not bother themselves with such sophistry, acknowledging that they seek, simply and completely, the city of Jerusalem (as well as all of Israel) as their sovereign territory.

Heller reports that President Barack Obama proposed that any peace deal with the Palestinians "be based on pre-1967 borders", something Obama actually did not say, nor would he have, given that Israel had no recognized borders with the Arab states at that time.  

And Heller refers to left-wing billionaire George Soros sympathetically as a "Holocaust survivor", when Soros has admitted publicly that he collaborated with the Nazis and had no problem, no guilt about it.

All in all, a rare show of solidarity for a beleaguered people by a media giant, but a typical day at the office for Jeffrey Heller.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hiding the facts

In a story headlined "Egypt, Israel try to defuse tension over killings", Reuters correspondent Yasmine Saleh writes about the latest mob protest at the Israeli embassy in Egypt over the deaths of Egyptian security personnel.  This follows the murder of Israeli civilians in Eilat by Palestinians dressed as... Egyptian security personnel.  Of course, that last detail has been conveniently omitted from Reuters reporting because it would explain, in spades, why the Israel Defense Forces would be firing at Egyptian soldiers.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Reuters: we interrupt this propaganda to bring you... propaganda

One wonders how Reuters Jerusalem Bureau correspondents sleep at night.  They are so wound up with pathological hatred for Israel, so desperate to use their soap box as the largest news agency in the world to swing the public to their view, and so in violation of nearly every ethical tenet spelled out by their employer's corporate governance charter and handbook of journalism, it's a wonder their heads don't explode before the alarm clock chimes.

Take for example, Reuters' deeply dishonest Bureau Chief Crispian (curly-haired) Balmer (perfume peddler) who employs a combination of cherry-picked quotes from Israel's diplomatic corps and enemies alike, as well as a fabricated assertion or two, to portray Israel as bellicose and intransigent:
Egypt's new military leaders are highly unlikely to tear up the Camp David accords, which brought Cairo enhanced security stability and also gave it access to generous Western funds [not to mention return of all the land they lost in a war of annihilation, ed].
But after an uprising among a populace that is overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian, the military has already shown itself to be more open to the Islamist Hamas group that governs the Gaza enclave and more assertive when it comes to dealing with Israel.
"Israel must be aware that the days when it kills our children without getting a strong, appropriate response are gone for ever," Amr Moussa, a former Egyptian foreign minister and ex-Arab League chief, said on his Twitter feed.
Isn't that special?  Balmer cites an unbelievably incendiary piece of atrocity propaganda from the social network site of a former Egyptian foreign minister to portray Israel as a killer of children.  Does he balance this with comments from, say, Israeli parliamentarian Aryeh Eldad who, following the murder by Palestinians of the Fogel family in Itamar, stated:
Who the Arabs are, we have known for a hundred years. They like their murder steaming hot. Jewish blood on their blades is cause for celebrations in Gaza and Hebron. 
Er, no.  One imagines that would be just too gauche for Balmer.

The Reuters Bureau Chief goes on to assert:
As ties with regional neighbours sour, relations with some of Israel's closest allies, including the United States, are not as rosy as they once were.
Western diplomats have pinned much of the blame for stalled Palestinian peace talks on Israel, with Washington and European capitals roundly condemning a spurt of recent approvals for settlement building in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
In fact, the Obama administration has put the onus for failed peace talks squarely on the shoulders of the Palestinians (from Reuters):
During the joint news conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama added: "For the Palestinians to take the United Nations route rather than the path of sitting down and talking with the Israelis is a mistake." [...]
Obama said Islamist group Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007, had to recognize Israel's right to exist and abandon its strategy of violence for the peace process to succeed.
"It is very difficult for Israelis to sit across the table and negotiate with a party that is denying their right to exist and has not renounced the right to send missiles and rockets into your territory," he said.
Before Balmer suggests Israel is being isolated (wishful thinking), perhaps he ought to glance at what his London bureau is reporting.

Palestinian dead are "civilians", "physician", "children". Israeli dead are #$%!@&*

On Thursday, Palestinian terrorists operating out of Egypt attacked two Israeli cars and a passenger bus with Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifles killing eight people, seven of whom were civilians, including sisters who worked as educators.  Following the initial hail of gunfire, the Palestinian attackers shot the sisters and their husbands in the heads at point-blank range.

Of course, if you read Reuters, you wouldn't know much of this.  Within 24 hours of the attack, the Israeli victims had been reduced to typographical errors:
Israeli forces were swift to blame the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) armed faction for Thursday's attack near the Red Sea resort of Eilat which killed when eight Israelis. [sic]
By contrast, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi, Ari Rabinovitch, and Allyn Fisher-Ilan are quite meticulous when reporting details of those Palestinians killed in the ensuing Israeli attacks -- twice:
Among those killed in Israel's strikes were 11 militants and four civilians, including a physician and children aged 2,5 and 13, said Hamas medical sources [...]
The radio tirade followed Israel's latest air strike launched just before midnight, targeting a militant riding a motorcycle in Gaza City. The missile also slammed into a passing car, killing three civilians including a medical doctor and a child, Hamas medical officials said.
Funny how those word processing errors only seem to occur when Israelis might be humanized.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reuters, the definition of insanity

In April, Hamas terrorists launched an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus killing a teenager.  Reporting on that attack, Reuters correspondents Nidal al-Mughrabi and Douglas Hamilton conveniently ignored the more than 500 rockets and mortars fired by Palestinians into Israel, and inanely (or is that insanely?) asserted that Hamas had been maintaining a "de facto ceasefire" since January of 2009.  We noted the Reuters fabrication at the time.

Allyn Fisher-Ilan and Al-Mughrabi repeat the lie today:
Aug 20 (Reuters) - The Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip announced early on Saturday they were no longer committed to a more than two-year de facto truce with Israel since the end of a war in early 2009.
This is one seriously disturbed news agency.

A tale of two terrorists

On July 6th, 2011 we noted a Reuters story that sought to play down nearly universal recognition of Hamas as a terrorist group.

By way of comparison, Reuters has apparently no difficulty identifying all of the countries which consider the Kurdish PKK a terrorist group:
On Thursday night the PKK, designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union, carried out simultaneous attacks in Turkey's southeastern Siirt province.
We're trying very hard to discern the difference between Hamas and the PKK.

Ah yes; their targets.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reuters rooting for war between Israel and the Palestinians

War is good for business.  At least in the media industry.  Just ask Reuters correspondent Dan Williams, who maintains a personal social network called "MideastWarWatch".  Or disgraced former Jerusalem Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald who, before he was sent packing to a desk job in London, penned an hysterical piece of agitprop seeking to stir up trouble and lamenting the public's waning interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reuters continues in that vein with a story today, written anonymously but in the unmistakable hand of kingpin propagandist Tom Perry.  Edited by Macdonald and current Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer, one can sense the author's wistful yearning for a new Palestinian terror war, and the disappointment that it may not materialize:
(Reuters) - Calls for Palestinian protests to back a diplomatic push for statehood at the United Nations next month have put Israel on guard; the peace process in deep crisis, some see a violent September, inspired by the Arab Spring.
Yet to many, a sustained Intifada, or uprising, appears unlikely, at least for now. To ordinary Palestinians, the significance of U.N. maneuvers in New York is hard to fathom, their leaders in the West Bank are wary of violence with Israel and their national movement remains weakened by a deep schism.
"There might be some protests," said Zakaria al-Qaq, a Palestinian political analyst. "But not with the size that the Palestinian leadership expects because the people feel they are marginalized. There is a great lack of confidence."
Marwan al-Barghouti, a charismatic leader in the last two Intifadas and now jailed for life in Israel, was among the first to call for protests to add popular weight to President Mahmoud Abbas's bid to secure a U.N. seat for a new state of Palestine.
With memories of protests on its borders this spring still fresh, Israel is deploying extra forces in preparation for trouble. In the opinion of Avigdor Lieberman, the far-right foreign minister, the Palestinians are planning violence.
In Jalazone, a refugee camp a short drive from the center of Ramallah, Mohammed Nakhla, 23 years old and unemployed, believes the failure of diplomacy means more confrontation is inevitable.
"There's no alternative," he said. "You need to resist."
With faith in the peace process non-existent -- Abbas himself says talks have hit a dead end -- observers have for some time warned of a vacuum that could be filled by turmoil.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, a veteran in the Fatah party led by Abbas, confidently expects widespread protests in support of the U.N. bid. "It is a declaration of a loss of hope," Aloul told Reuters. "This will lead to a continuous escalation.
"They will be peaceful protests. But will they stay peaceful? This will depend on how the Israelis act."
LITTLE APPETITE
Yet to many Palestinian analysts, the idea of an imminent outbreak of widespread insurrection, similar to those that are reshaping the rest of the Arab world, seems fanciful.
Some question whether Abbas is even serious in calling for the protests. He has long been opposed to violence and may fear that protests will spiral out of control.
Threaded throughout the story are a series of carefully contrived propaganda devices intended to sanitize Palestinian violence and demonize Israel.  A terror war aimed at civilians is merely an "uprising".  Marwan al-Baghouti, convicted on five counts of murder for a terror attack at a seafood restaurant in Tel Aviv, is a "charismatic" leader.  The Israeli foreign minister is "far right".  Arab violence is only and always a need to "resist".  Palestinian protests may turn violent depending on "how the Israelis act".  And of course, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who told interviewers as recently as 2008 that Palestinians may once again launch violent attacks when the time is right, is described, risibly, as being "long opposed to violence".

But mostly, the writer reveals his own melancholy that a reporting opportunity with violent confrontations may simply not be in the cards:
Yet if the experience of May and June is anything to go by, the participation will not be large. Protests called to mark major anniversaries in the conflict with Israel failed to galvanize large numbers in the Palestinian territories.
More attention focused on Israel's northern frontiers, where thousands of refugees gathered. Some crossed the frontline from Syria, delighting Palestinians and giving Israel's heavily armed troops the problem of dealing with unarmed mass protests.
The head of the Israeli army, looking ahead to next month, has said he does not see "strong energy" among the Palestinians. Unlike foreign minister Lieberman, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he expects events to unfold quietly.
On the ground, there are few signs of preparation. Headlines in Palestinian papers focus more on protests against the high cost of living and on the uprising in Syria than on any thoughts about Palestinians' own possible demonstrations in September.
Since Perry, Macdonald, and Balmer obviously thirst for stories about Arab violence targeting Jews eating dinner or riding on buses, perhaps they can focus on the latest example of that today.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This is what happens when you spend too much time in the Muslim Middle East

Reuters Middle East correspondents really need to get out more.  Some have spent so much time living and working in the region and being exposed to Arab and Iranian propaganda on a daily basis, they have become little more than useful idiots for these regimes and "the street".

Take for example, Reuters correspondent Robin Pomeroy who, when she's not fatuously suggesting Iran provides only "moral support" for Hamas, is dutifully parroting Iranian euphemisms and political rhetoric:
(Reuters) - Beset by civil unrest at home and lambasted by the West and his Arab neighbors for his violent crackdown on dissent, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad can count on one firm ally: Iran.
In a country that knows a thing or two about diplomatic isolation, Iran's politicians and media describe the Damascus government as an outpost of resistance to Israel that has been set upon by Washington and its lackeys in the region.
Although Pomeroy is presumably citing Iran's politicians and media, note how she employs (sans quotation marks) the sanitized and Arab-ethnocentric term resistance to characterize Syria's many wars and support for terror groups in the region whose aims are the eradication of Israel and wholesale slaughter of the Jews.  She then refers to "Washington and its lackeys", again without quotation marks, betraying her own skewed view of politics in the region. 

Perhaps Reuters ought to offer Pomeroy a beat in Southern Sudan so she can see, up-close and personal, the effects of Muslim "resistance" and the "lackey" response to it.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Racists at Reuters at it again

Oh my.  If we had a penny for every time the Reuters Jerusalem crew attempted to assign ownership of Jerusalem to the Arabs via use of the propagandistic, anachronistic and racist misnomer, Arab East Jerusalem, we'd be wealthy beyond our dreams:
Western-backed Abbas holds sway in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Palestinians want both territories for a future state with Arab East Jerusalem as its capital.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Crispian Balmer, ventriloquist

In a story on the protests in Israel over high living costs, Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer notes the diverse makeup of the protesters:
A few right-wing nationalists have also pitched tents in the city, telling protesters that the solution to the housing crisis is to build more Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians hope one day to create an independent state.
Oh really?  "[Jewish] right-wing nationalists" said the solution to the housing crisis is to build more settlements in the "occupied West Bank"?  This is like reporting that Cypriot Turks told Prime Minister Erdogan the housing crisis on the island could be addressed by building more Muslim settlements in occupied Nicosia (the Turks call the city Lefkosia).

Jews living in the territories refer to the area by its three-thousand-year-old Hebrew name, Judea and Samaria, not by the Arab ethnocentric term, "West Bank", born from ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population in 1949.  And given the fact that Jews were granted the right in international law to live and build in the territories, they would certainly never characterize the land as being "occupied".

So Balmer's account of what was said by Israeli "right-wing nationalists" is almost certainly fabricated and intended to implant in the minds of readers, his own left-wing Arabist view of the status of the territories.

And this wouldn't be the first time Balmer has put his words in the mouths of those he cites.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jeffrey Heller still fabricating geography, still ignoring history

Imagine picking up a copy of The New York Times this morning and reading, "German Chancellor Angela Merkel okays 1,600 settler homes for East Germany".

Wha??

That's right; a country with a distinctive tribal history dating back over two millennia, and a nation-state for much of that period, forcibly divided during a handful of years following the invasion and illegal occupation by another state, is still being bifurcated and anachronistically referred to as separate countries by a major media company.

But it's not the New York Times engaging in this deception.  It's not Berlin being divided.  And it's not Germans being characterized as colonizers in their own country.

It's Reuters Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller who eats, sleeps, and dreams about Jews who choose to exercise their right in international law to live in the eastern portion of Jerusalem.

Wake up Jeffrey.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"Why Scientists and Journalists Don’t Always Play Well Together"

Though mainly about stories appearing in the popular press on scientific inquiries, this article from David DiSalvo at Forbes makes the case that the quality of journalism has declined due to competitive and market pressures:
Scientists mistrust journalists because the popular market for news can, and very often does, affect how stories are told.  This is particularly true now, with the standard-bearers of traditional journalism giving way to the sprawling fragmentation of online news.  Many journalists have been forced to become mercenaries in a marketplace with few empires left to retain their services fulltime.  The pressures working against survival in this market are severe, and time constraints to produce an enormous amount of copy in any given week are rarely flexible.
But even before this market materialized, the traditional news outlets were showing signs of slippage on fact checking and filtering sensational claims from quality content.  And journalists, watching as chips of the stoic walls began crumbling, were under unmanageable pressure to produce to keep their jobs.
This is undoubtedly true of Reuters (we once read that journalists in the agency's Jerusalem Bureau are under pressure to produce at least one publishable story per day).  At the same time, there are powerful ideological forces at work in Reuters Middle East coverage which contribute to the problem of shoddy reporting.  As evidenced on our site, Reuters correspondents are deeply committed to advocating for the Palestinian Arabs and deeply hostile to successive Israeli governments, Jews who choose to live in the territories, and generally anyone who doesn't share their Arabist or radical-left world-view.  This leads to stories which are systematically biased, often dishonest, and carefully contrived to manipulate the audience into buying into that view.

DiSalvo argues that many science journalists are committed to faithful reporting:
On the other side, many science journalists resent the fact that these criticisms are unfairly painted across the profession.  For those of us who primarily focus on science topics, “getting it right” isn’t an academic exercise, it’s a heartfelt desire born of a passion for what we choose to write about.  For any serious writer, not treating their chosen subject with the care it deserves isn’t an option.
That, of course, does not mean science journalists always get it right.  But the writers I regularly speak to acknowledge this fact and are just as unhappy about it as the scientists.  The flip side of the coin is that some scientists are not immune to overhyping findings for a little extra ink.  The perfect storm occurs when an overhyping scientist meets an imprudent journalist; shortly thereafter a story about vaccines causing autism appears, as just one example.
DiSalvo is referring here to an article based on a study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, which found a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.  The study was later proven to be fraudulent but the results had already been touted in so many popular media outlets, the damage was done.  Today, despite all scientific evidence to the contrary, there are millions of children not being vaccinated by their parents for fear of inducing autism.

As it happens, The Lancet also ran an article last year on alleged damage done to the health of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip due to the war with Israel in 2008-09 and subsequent goods embargo.  Reuters journalist Kate Kelland promoted these findings in a story published on the Reuters website two days before the article appeared in The Lancet:
In a study of around 2,000 children and adolescents, she [Kholoud Nasser from the Ministry of Education in Ramallah] found that one in four misses breakfast -- the main indicator of healthy eating habits -- while one in 10 is anaemic, and one in 17 is stunted. Around 2 percent are underweight and 15 percent are either overweight or obese.
As we pointed out at the time, studies show that more than one in three children in the United States misses breakfast.  And according to the United Nations, Palestinian children are among the healthiest in the Middle East.  Only Qatar has a lower rate of stunting across the Arab states and the Palestinian rate actually fell from one in 10 between 2003 and 2008, to one in 17 based on Nasser's more recent study.  Contrary to the innuendo contained in The Lancet article and uncritically parroted by Reuters, there was no scientific evidence that Israeli actions were damaging the health of Palestinian children.

Thus, The Lancet was once again guilty of publishing a study born of deceit, and Reuters, eager to demonize Israel as part of its Palestinian advocacy campaign, was only too happy to help peddle it.

As DiSalvo would say, "a perfect storm".

Monday, August 8, 2011

Wishful thinking

Reuters Jerusalem correspondents, who don't even try to hide their radical left political views, publish a slideshow on the recent economic protests in Israel.  It's captioned:
The biggest economy-related protests in Israel's history could signal the resurgence of Israel's left-wing.
Big as these protests were (an estimated 250,000 people), the left-wing in Israel has been, along with Reuters, dying a slow painful death.  The Meretz party for example, which probably best typifies the ideology and politics of the left garnered just three parliamentary seats in 2009, down from twelve in the early 1990s.

That a sizable number of Israelis would like to see cheaper housing and cottage cheese does not a political resurgence make.

Still, Reuters can always hope.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood changes its mind on a civil state, Reuters shocked

Since the February revolution in Egypt, Reuters has spent reams of paper carefully sanitizing the history, dogma, and objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Just last May for example, the agency was assuring us that the Brotherhood had no interest in a parliamentary majority in Egypt and was not seeking to impose Islamic law (Sharia).

Things seem to have changed:
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's liberal Wafd party said on Sunday it may quit an electoral deal with the Muslim Brotherhood, highlighting growing tensions between liberals and Islamists over their vision for Muslim-majority Egypt.
The pact's aim was to allay fears that Islamists would seek to dominate debate about a new constitution, due to be re-written after parliament is elected. Some liberals fear Islamists want the constitution to create an Islamic state [...]
"It seems that the Brotherhood has retracted its position from the document that all members of the alliance have signed setting general rules that the new constitution must have," Yassin Tageldin, Wafd's deputy chairman, told Reuters.
He said Wafd understood that the agreement laid down principles to ensure that when re-written would establish a civil state.
The Brotherhood, which insists it wants a constitution that respects Muslims and non-Muslims alike, have said the pact was not a statement of principles about any constitutional debate but covered how groups would behave before elections [...]
Another Wafd leader, Essam Sheha, told Egypt's al-Mal newspaper that his party wanted to leave the pact after "the Brotherhood ... raised slogans calling for a religious state."

It was a reference to a demonstration on July 29, that was dominated by Salafists with a very strict view of Islam, whose slogans included saying said Islam came before any constitution.
We await the return of former Reuters Cairo Bureau Chief Jonathan Wright who will undoubtedly assure us all is well because the Brotherhood's leadership consists of engineers, doctors, lawyers, and academics.

Nothing to see here; move on.

To an anarchist, one who defends his country is an "ultranationalist"

In an effort to smear Israelis whom they personally detest, Reuters correspondents routinely tag them with cheap labels they know carry a negative connotation for the audience: right-winger, settlers, ultranationalist, to cite a few.  On the Palestinian side of course, the corresponding identifiers have a somewhat different flavor: leftist, people, and refugee.

This name calling or stereotyping is a tired propaganda device and one which spits in the faces of Thomson Reuters executives who are bound to uphold, at all costs, the company's policy of impartiality embedded in the Trust Principles.

It is probably fitting however, that a Reuters correspondent who lists the anarchist group CODEPINK as a favorite on her social network site would use the term "ultranationalist" to describe someone who is not prepared to surrender his country to those who would wreck it:
(Reuters) - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday Israel should sever contacts with the Palestinian Authority over its plans to ask the United Nations in September to upgrade the Palestinians' status in the world body.
Citing calls by some Palestinian officials for protests to coincide with the U.N. session, Lieberman, an ultranationalist, told reporters: "What is clear is the Palestinian Authority plans violence and bloodshed of a type we have not yet seen."
 Carry on Allyn; carry on.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pot meet kettle

In a story published on the Reuters website and syndicated to scores of other media outlets, correspondent and kingpin propagandist Tom Perry propagates the notion that Jews living in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") have been setting fire to Palestinian land:
(Reuters) - Scorched hillsides and charred olive groves near Nablus pinpoint the latest acts of arson by hardline Jewish settlers against Palestinians who say they are ever more the victims of such attacks in the West Bank.
"The olive tree is the only source of income for farmers," said Mohammad Zeban, a Palestinian farmer, lamenting the damage inflicted on hundreds of olive trees by a recent fire near the village of Huwara. "They want to annihilate us."
Perry may wish to consult the latest poll of Palestinian Arabs living in the territories to learn whom actually wishes to annihilate whom:
Seventy-two percent [of Palestinians] backed denying the thousands of years of Jewish history in Jerusalem, 62% supported kidnapping IDF soldiers and holding them hostage, and 53% were in favor or teaching songs about hating Jews in Palestinian schools.

When given a quote from the Hamas Charter about the need for battalions from the Arab and Islamic world to defeat the Jews, 80% agreed. Seventy-three percent agreed with a quote from the charter (and a hadith, or tradition ascribed to the prophet Muhammad) about the need to kill Jews hiding behind stones and trees.
And in reality, it is the Palestinian Arabs who have been setting fire to Jewish land:
Residents of various West Bank settlements have found themselves under a new threat recently – arson.
According to a report published by Yedioth Ahronoth Tuesday, more than 20 fires have been maliciously set in West Bank settlements and outposts in the past few weeks.
Defense establishment sources have expressed concern that the area may be facing an "arson intifada," saying Palestinians have foregone hurling rocks and rioting in favor of setting fires near settlements and letting the hot weather and winds do the rest – i.e. feed the blaze as it spreads and threatens communities and wildlife alike.
Police investigators determined that all of the fires were the result of arson and evidence in all cases led to surrounding Arab villages. The Judea and Samaria District Police have recently arrested six suspects.
Mr. Perry, meet Mr. Orwell.

Hat tip: EoZ

Monday, August 1, 2011

Selective amnesia

In an incident reminiscient of the scene last year when the Lebanese army opened fire on an Israeli regiment near the border between the two countries killing an IDF officer, Israeli paratroopers on the Israeli side of the border were shot at this morning by Lebanese troops.

Although Reuters reports on today's assault, correspondent Maayan Lubell appears to have a case of selective amnesia when it comes to the incident last year:
Israel fought a 34-day war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas in 2006.
The border has been mostly quiet since, but violence erupted on May 15 this year when Israeli soldiers fired on Palestinian demonstrators who swarmed the Lebanese frontier. Seven civilians were killed, according to a United Nations report.
Lubell leaps from the war in 2006 to an account of the completely unrelated Palestinian border rush in May -- helpfully reminding readers that seven civilians were killed -- skipping entirely, an account of the relevant border clash between Lebanese and Israeli soldiers last year.

This in the service of erasing the historical record of Lebanese aggression while focusing audience attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.