Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Photojournalism in the Middle East

Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, posts a video produced by a young Italian photographer which demonstrates the very active role taken by photojournalists in the Middle East conflict:

This reminded us of the story of the Reuters cameraman who was remanded in 2006, for encouraging and directing Palestinians to throw rocks at Israeli vehicles.  It appears little has changed over the last five years.

hat tip: EoZ

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Alastair Macdonald, historical revisionist (part III)

Continuing with our analysis of Alastair Macdonald's propagandistic "timeline" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to achieve peace:
November [2009] - Clinton hails [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu's partial, 10-month halt on building permits in West Bank settlements as "unprecedented." [Palestinian President] Abbas demands similar freeze in East Jerusalem. Israel refuses.
Sept 2010 - Direct peace talks finally resume but they end after just a couple of weeks when Israel refuses to extend its partial settlement freeze.
Palestinians waited nearly nine and a half months after Netanyahu's unprecedented concession to freeze building in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") before agreeing to return to peace talks.  The Palestinians unilaterally abandoned talks three weeks later.
May [2011] - Israeli troops kill at least 13 Palestinians who surged towards its frontiers with Syria, Lebanon and Gaza on May 15, the day Palestinians mourn the establishment of Israel in the deadliest confrontation in years of anniversary clashes.
Macdonald obfuscates both the nature and magnitude of this incident which involved the transportation of over a thousand Palestinian Arabs to the Syrian, Lebanese and Gaza borders with Israel, where they were encouraged by Arab governments to rush and breach Israeli border fences.  One wonders as well, what this incident has to do with a timeline entitled: "milestones in Middle East peace moves".  Why not provide an account for example, of the eight Israelis who were gunned-down at point-blank range by Palestinians dressed as Egyptian security personnel in August of this year?  An incident which, owing to its impact on Israeli-Egyptian relations, is at least as relevant to the question of peace in the region as Macdonald's historical marker.
-- Obama's call for Israel to give Palestinians territory it has occupied since 1967 stuns visiting Prime Minister Netanyahu and pushes their thawing relationship back into the freezer.
This is an historical fabrication.  What President Obama actually said was that "the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states" [italics ours].  This advice is consistent with the position of nearly every US administration over the last two decades and not inconsistent with Israeli policy and offers to the Palestinians over the same period.

And finally:
September 23 - Abbas to ask the U.N. to recognise a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.
The territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") remain officially unallocated and disputed between Jews and Arabs.  Per international law, they do not belong to the Palestinians, although by virtue of international law, Jews are fully entitled to settle there.

As evidenced by our three-part critique, Macdonald's timeline is fundamentally flawed, deeply dishonest, and heavily propagandistic.  It distorts history beyond all recognition and omits essential context necessary to understand what the former Reuters bureau chief is purportedly attempting to provide: a faithful account of the Middle East conflict and efforts to resolve it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Louis Charbonneau's latest propaganda mantra: US and Israel are "isolated"

Reuters correspondent Louis Charbonneau, who spins and slants the news when he is not outright fabricating it, wants readers to believe that in opposing the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, the US is isolating itself from the family of nations:
Still, diplomats say Washington remains isolated on the council because of its staunch support for Israel, which the majority of U.N. member states believe has worked hard to sabotage peace talks with the Palestinians. [...]

Highlighting its isolation on the Security Council, Washington cast the sole vote against the settlements resolution. The other 14 members -- including Washington's European allies such as Britain and France -- opposed the United States and Israel and voted for the resolution.
The Europeans agree with Washington that the Palestinian U.N. bid is unwise and are inclined to oppose it. But the Europeans and Americans are far apart on the Middle East issue and diplomats say Washington remains as isolated as ever.
Quite apart from Charbonneau's unsupported and heavily biased assertion that the majority of UN member states believe Israel "has worked hard to sabotage peace talks with the Palestinians", the Reuters reporter seems oblivious to the non sequitur inherent in his claim on the one hand, that the US is isolated on the question of Palestinian statehood and on the other hand, the fact that the Palestinians are unlikely to be able to muster the minimum nine votes needed on the UN Security Council to force a US veto.

In other words, the US is not isolated at all in its stand that bilateral negotiations between the parties are the appropriate and indeed sole way to resolve the conflict.  The entire EU and scores of other countries in the General Assembly take the same view.

Charbonneau however, would much prefer that his readers buy into his fatuous anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda.

Alastair Macdonald, historical revisionist (part II)

Continuing with our analysis of Alastair Macdonald's propagandistic "timeline" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to achieve peace:
1988 - After a year of Intifada (uprising), exiled PLO leader Yasser Arafat, acknowledged as speaking for Palestinians, renounces terrorism and accepts Israel's right to exist. He also that year unilaterally declared Palestinian independence. Since then, more than a hundred countries have recognised Palestine despite the fact it has no defined borders.
In an attempt to sanitize the PLO-orchestrated attempt to kill Jews and produce anarchy in Israel, Macdonald parrots the Arab-ethnocentric and euphemistic term "uprising", actually a mistranslation of the Arabic word intifasza, or "revolt", to describe this period of street violence and terror attacks.  The former Reuters Bureau Chief also fails to indicate anywhere in his piece that while Arafat nominally repudiated terrorism in 1988 in an effort to persuade the US to include him in negotiations, he was the architect, along with Hamas, of nearly all Palestinian terror campaigns waged against Israel in subsequent years.
2003 - "Road map" for peace -- drafted by the Middle East Quartet, comprising the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia -- binds both sides to curbing violence and Israel to halting Jewish settlement on occupied land.
The Road Map doesn't simply bind both sides to "curbing violence"; it obligates the Palestinians to disarm and dismantle all terrorist infrastructure, something they have utterly failed to do.
2005 - After Arafat's death in 2004, Mahmoud Abbas elected Palestinian president. Right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon pulls settlers and troops out of the Gaza Strip.
2006 - Hamas wins Palestinian parliamentary election, forms government that is boycotted by Israel and Western powers.
2007 - Citing fears of U.S.-backed plan to oust Hamas from government, Islamists seize control in Gaza from Abbas's forces. Months later, Bush brings Abbas and Sharon's successor Ehud Olmert together at Annapolis to launch new bid for peace deal.
December 2008 - After a year of desultory talks, Abbas quits negotiations when Olmert launches offensive on Hamas-run Gaza.
No mention whatsoever, of the more than 10,000 rockets and mortars launched by Hamas into Israeli civilian communities during this period which led to Israel's "offensive" in the Gaza Strip in 2008.

And Abbas did not quit negotiations following "desultory" talks or because of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza; he refused yet another settlement offer from the Israeli government resulting from those talks, an event which occurred months prior to the war.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Reuters quotes Abbas: "the time of the Palestinian spring is here."

Alastair Macdonald, historical revisionist (part I)

Disgraced former Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald compiles a series of "key dates" associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and international attempts to resolve it.  Macdonald's timeline well-illustrates Reuters' wholesale adoption of the Arab narrative of the conflict and the agency's continuing efforts to blot out historically accurate or competing accounts.  Macdonald begins his timeline in 1948:
1948 - Great powers recognise Israel. Arabs reject U.N. partition plan that gives Jews 56 percent of Palestine. War breaks out, leaving Israel with 78 percent of land and half of Palestine's Arabs as refugees.
Conveniently ignoring the quarter century of international resolutions and land allocations preceding the United Nations Partition Plan, Macdonald omits the League of Nations adoption, in 1922, of the Palestine Mandate, which called for a Jewish sovereign in the territory and "close settlement of the land" by Jews.  Just prior to that time, Palestine had actually been about five times the size of the territory ultimately divided by the Partition Plan, with 78 percent of the land subsequently handed to the Hashemite Arabs as what is today, Jordan.  Much of what remained of the Mandate was reserved for the Palestinian Arabs who rejected it in favor of a winner-takes-all war with Israel.  Thus, the Jews actually received substantially less than 22 percent of Palestine, not the 56 percent Macdonald falsely asserts.

And of course, war between the Arabs and Israel did not passively "break out"; it was launched by the Arab states, assisted by the Palestinian Arabs, in an effort to exterminate the Jews and destroy Israel.
1967 - In what it calls pre-emptive strikes on Arab states, Israeli forces seize rest of British-mandate Palestine, taking West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and Gaza Strip from Egypt. Israel captures Golan Heights from Syria.
Macdonald attempts to obfuscate the historical record associated with the 1967 Six-Day War by suggesting that there is no objective evidence of an impending Arab attack against Israel ("in what it calls pre-emptive strikes").  Here, the Reuters desk editor is withholding from readers, the well-established historical fact that Israel's military strike against the Egyptian air force followed Egyptian President Nasser's stationing of over 100,000 troops and all seven of its army divisions on the Israeli border in contravention of U.N. decrees.

Macdonald then extends his previous false representation of the land mass of Palestine by asserting that the 1967 war resulted in Israel controlling the "rest of British-mandate Palestine".  As discussed above, Palestine had originally been over five times the size of the territory won by Israel in the war.

And as noted in many of our posts, Macdonald's characterization of "East Jerusalem" is a fiction, intended to disguise the abbreviated period of 19 years, between 1948 and 1967, that Jordan illegally occupied the city of Jerusalem and ethnically cleansed the area of Jews.  Only during this brief period was the occupied area known as east (small "e") Jerusalem.


The "East Jerusalem" canard

Reuters continues to perpetuate the contrived propagandistic notion that the Palestinians seek only the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), and the fictitious city of "East" Jerusalem for their sovereign state so we thought we would republish our previous post entitled "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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Reuters journalist circulates email calling for Palestinian state

From the "oops!" department, Reuters journalist Svebor Kranjc responded to an email issued by the European Jewish Congress (EJC) opposing the Palestinian statehood bid with an email of his own:
“I am going to support it!... You have your state but you don't want others to have their state. So sad...”
The Jerusalem Post story doesn't indicate how many recipients were on Kranjc's email list.

The EJC responded by complaining to Reuters:
“We call upon Reuters, one of the oldest news agencies in the world and one that has a reputation for fair and balanced news, to remove employees who bring a political agenda into their work in journalism and media, and in their professional relations."
Apparently, the EJC hasn't visited our website -- nor read any of Tom Perry's stories.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Reuters Tom Perry hearts the Palestinians

Reuters correspondent Tom Perry, who appears to be moving through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross' seven stages of grief over the impending death of the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations, has graduated from anger and depression on to hope and acceptance:
(Reuters) - Palestinians expressed a mix of pride and wary anticipation on Friday as their president prepared to present an application for United Nations membership for the state of Palestine in the face of fierce opposition from the United States and Israel.  Flags and portraits of the late Yasser Arafat and President Mahmoud Abbas draped buildings in a central Ramallah square where Palestinians awaited the live broadcast of a speech by Abbas [...]
President Barack Obama has warned the United States would exercise its U.N. veto power to prevent a Palestinian state being declared by the 15-member Security Council.
Backing Israel's insistence the two sides must resume suspended negotiations, Obama this week said there can be "no shortcut" to a Middle East peace that attempts to circumvent a treaty between the Palestinians and Israel.
Perry has so completely lost his integrity (not to mention his mind) as an independent reporter, he adopts the loaded Palestinian term for the Israel Defense Forces:   
There was no sign of organised Palestinian violence in the West Bank as feared by some Israelis, worried Israel's opposition to the biggest Palestinian diplomatic initiative in years could trigger clashes with occupation security forces.
He then parrots Palestinian canards:
Palestinians say they have been patient during 20 years of peace talks that have yielded nothing, while Israel's occupation continues and Jewish settlements grow on West Bank land.
Yielded nothing but a concession by various Israeli governments, including the present one, to accept a second Palestinian state on land promised to the Jews if the Palestinian Arabs will only accept a Jewish state on the land that remains and agree to live in peace.  A condition apparently beyond Perry's "patient" Palestinians.

And there has been absolutely no lateral growth of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") in years.  Israel continues to suppress Jewish building in the territories in the hope, perhaps futile, that the Palestinians will ultimately come to demonstrate the same fervor for co-existence they currently display for terror and lawfare.

UN doesn't recognize Palestinian state -- but Reuters does

Hezbollah handmaiden and Reuters correspondent Alistair Lyon makes clear that whereas the United Nations views the territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank"), including the city of Jerusalem, as, literally, no man's land, he and his behemoth media company consider it Palestinian land:
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asks the United Nations on Friday to recognise a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move.
And it doesn't get any better.  Lyon's propaganda piece follows the Palestinian Arab narrative to the letter, censors essential historical detail, and is shamelessly loaded with fabrications, half-truths, and distortions.  Let's take a look:
His [Palestinian President Abbas] appeal to the council reflects a loss of faith after 20 years of failed peace talks sponsored by the United States, Israel's main ally, and alarm at relentless Israeli settlement expansion that is eating into the land Palestinians want for a state.
It's always a work of art when Reuters correspondents speak for the Palestinians.  The failed peace talks Lyon refers to began life as the Declaration of Principles, or Oslo Accords, in the early 1990s and the United States had no hand in them.  It was actually the Fafo Institute in Norway, with its Director Terje Rød-Larsen, that brought Israeli officials and the Palestine Liberation Organization together in an effort to resolve the conflict.  Those Accords, which the Palestinians have violated repeatedly and are now formally annulling with their application for statehood at the UN, fully permitted, consistent with international law, Jewish settlements in the disputed territories.

Lyon continues:
So Abbas, a moderate politician opposed to violence, sees no alternative but recourse to the United Nations, although Israeli and U.S. politicians have threatened financial reprisals that could cripple his Palestinian Authority.
As we noted in our post yesterday, whereas Reuters continues to peddle the canard that Abbas is opposed to violence, the facts say otherwise.  Abbas makes clear in his interviews and speeches, particularly in Arabic, that the Palestinian suspension of violence is tactical and temporary and that terrorism may be reprised any time it once again becomes opportune.
The United Nations partitioned Palestine in 1947, but Arab states rejected that and declared war on the new state of Israel, which then captured more territory than it had been allotted under the U.N. plan and dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who became refugees.
With his selective and heavily biased historical excerpt, Lyon wants readers to believe that it was Israel which "dispossessed" the Palestinian Arabs when in reality, it was the leaders of those Arab states that declared war on Israel and also encouraged the local Arab population to clear the way for their armies.  Proof of this lies in the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who remained in their homes in 1948 and who are today, along with their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, full citizens of the state of Israel.
Two decades after Israel seized the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war, the Palestine Liberation Organisation effectively reduced its demands to a state on those territories.
This is a complete fabrication.  The PLO has never formally rescinded its charter to obliterate Israel and replace the Jewish state, in its entirety, with a Palestinian Arab state.  Indeed, Article 9 of that document makes clear precisely what that "moderate politician opposed to violence", Mahmoud Abbas, is really up to:   
Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it. They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Perry follows with puff piece on Palestinian President; forgets a few items

Following his angry screed on behalf of the Palestinians (see our post below), Reuters kingpin propagandist Tom Perry delivers a puff piece on Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that lauds him as a man of peace:
Abbas is a refugee from a town in what is now Israel, but his vision for ending the conflict is built around the idea of establishing of an independent Palestine in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem alongside Israel.
His opposition to the use of violence has bordered on outright disdain. That has fed his rivalry with the Hamas Islamist group, which wrestled control of Gaza from him in 2007.
He has described as "futile" the firing of rockets into Israel by militants in Gaza, and the security forces he has built up in the West Bank are trained to cooperate with Israel rather than fight it.
As usual, Perry omits a few pertinent items from Abbas' bio.  Like the fact that the Palestinian President's dissertation denied the scope of the Holocaust and claimed it was a Zionist plot.  Or the fact that Abbas financed the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972.  Or that in 2007, the man Perry claims is "hostile to violence":
urged a throng of 50,000 Palestinians to re-aim their guns at the “occupation” (i.e., Israel) instead of turning them on each other: “Fatah,” he promised, “will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation.... We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation....”
And in 2008, Abbas revealed that:
his current feint at negotiations with Israel is — like his mentor Arafat’s similar tactics — a strategic pause at best. He explained to a Jordanian newspaper that he was not pursuing “the armed struggle” at “this present juncture” only “because we can’t succeed in it.” He was quick to add, though, that “maybe in the future things will be different.”
As Perry's lede suggests: "Abbas presses Palestinian case with new defiance".


Tom Perry hysterical over Obama's decision to block Palestinian statehood bid

Reuters kingpin propagandist Tom Perry, who hasn't written a straight story on the Middle East conflict since he joined the agency's Jerusalem/Ramallah bureaus in 2009, rants and raves about President Obama's decision to block the Palestinian application for statehood at the United Nations:
Frustration with U.S. policy is one of the main reasons behind Abbas' U.N. initiative. Palestinian officials have presented it as an attempt to break the U.S. monopoly over Middle East peace diplomacy by involving other powers.
U.S. policy toward the Middle East conflict has long appeared pro-Israel to Palestinians. By far the weaker party in the negotiations, the Palestinians were always dependent on Washington's help to get their own state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
President George H.W. Bush is remembered as the last U.S. leader to exert serious pressure on Israel when he temporarily withheld loan guarantees to press the Israelis for a freeze on settlement building. But that was 20 years ago, at the very outset of a peace process now widely seen as a failure.
Exasperation with Obama is compounded by the high hopes Palestinians harbored early on in his presidency that he too was ready to get tough on Israel.
He initially called on Israel to halt settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to smooth peace negotiations. But he then backed off, leaving Abbas in the lurch.
Perry and his pet Palestinians are "frustrated" with U.S. policy.  They want to "involve other powers".  They see the U.S. as "pro-Israel".  They are the "weaker party" and "dependent".  They want only "the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and 'East' Jerusalem" for their state.  They are "exasperated" with Obama who left Palestinian President Abbas "in the lurch" and want Obama to "get tough" with Israel.

Every word in Perry's screed postures for the Palestinians.  Almost every assertion is myopically-focused on Palestinian demands at the expense of legitimate Israeli concerns.  Many of Perry's claims are pure fabrications.  And the Reuters "journalist" deliberately withholds any excerpts from Obama's speech at the United Nations where the President suggested (oh, the humanity!) that the parties actually negotiate an equitable settlement and peace deal that will result in the state the Palestinians purportedly wail for.

We don't usually lobby for or predict internal changes at Reuters.  We simply report on their correspondents' many errors, systematic bias, and use of propaganda devices to unethically influence their readers.  However, we will make a forecast here: within 12 months, Tom Perry will no longer be working for Reuters Jerusalem/Ramallah bureaus.  He will have either followed in the footsteps of former Bureau Chief Alastair Macdonald, who was sent packing to a desk job in London as a result of a doctored photo scandal under his watch, or he will be hitting the streets in Ramallah, soliciting the various Palestinian papers for a columnist position.

We're sure he'll do well.

When Jews control disputed land, it's "occupation". When Muslims control someone else's land, they have a "presence" there

In over two-thousand Reuters stories published in just the last couple of years, the news agency refers to Israel's control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as an "occupation".  This, despite the fact that the territory is officially unallocated to any sovereign and disputed between Jews and Arabs.

By contrast, when Reuters discusses the (internationally recognized as illegal) three-decade occupation of Lebanon by Syria or the (internationally recognized as illegal) nearly four-decade occupation of Cyprus by Turkey, the occupation is referred to merely as a "military presence":
Cyprus has been split since the 1974 invasion in the aftermath of a brief Greek-inspired coup in Nicosia, and Turkey maintains a military presence in the Turkish Cypriot state.
Why the double standard?

Goebbels protege Alistair Lyon speaks for the Palestinians

Reuters "special correspondent" Alistair Lyon, who frequently forgets he is supposed to be reporting the news rather than providing propaganda and public relations for the Arabs, quotes President Obama's impassioned plea at the United Nations:
"Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the U.N.," he said. "Ultimately, it is Israelis and Palestinians -- not us -- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and security; on refugees and Jerusalem."
Lyon then has the temerity to answer Obama on behalf of the Palestinians:
However, it is the failure of 20 years of U.S.-brokered negotiations that has driven [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas to take his quest for a state to the United Nations -- a ploy that could embarrass the United States by forcing it to protect its Israeli ally against the tide of world opinion.
The failure of 20 years of U.S.-brokered negotiations?  Far more likely it is the failure of 64 years of Palestinian rejectionism, wars, and terrorism intended to expel the Jews from the Middle East that has "driven" Abbas to this act of supreme farce.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The one-state solution

In a story about Palestinians rallying support for a Palestinian state, Reuters kingpin propagandist Tom Perry cites Palestinian disappointment with U.S. support for Israel and President Obama's pledge to veto the Palestinian attempt to circumvent negotiations:
Washington's pledge to veto the bid for U.N. membership has added to deep Palestinian disappointment in Obama. The Palestinians have long complained of what they see as Washington's support for Israel at their expense.
"America talks about human rights. They support South Sudan. Why don't they support us?" said Tamer Milham, a 26-year-old computer engineer, referring to the new state of South Sudan which was admitted to the United Nations in July.
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that South Sudan is not seeking to eradicate Sudan.

h/t: EoZ

Reuters' doors of perception

Today is the one-year anniversary of the last Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials who had been attempting to negotiate a final settlement of the conflict between the parties.  It didn't go well.  Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad cancelled a scheduled joint press conference with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and stormed out of the meeting because Ayalon wanted the official summary to refer to "two states for two peoples". 

A few days later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to extend Israel's unilateral 10-month settlement freeze in the territories and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas terminated peace talks.

The Palestinians have refused to return to the negotiating table ever since.

Of course, one would never know any of these historical facts reading Reuters anamorphic account of events:
Direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed a year ago after Israel refused to extend a moratorium on new settlements in areas the Palestinians want for a future state.
Note how Reuters correspondents Matt Spetalnick and John Irish place blame solely on Israel.  The Palestinians apparently had no hand in the cessation of peace talks which simply "collapsed" (passive voice) following Israel's decision not to renew the building freeze.

But the optics become even more distorted when Spetalnick and Irish bend reality to absolve the Palestinians of their intransigence:
It would also raise pressure on Israel, which despite its offer of direct peace talks has not made any of the concessions that the Palestinians say would make such talks possible.
Israel has offered direct peace talks but only concessions on her part "would make such talks possible".  Again, the passive voice is employed to discharge the Palestinians of any responsibility for their utter rejection of negotiations.

Somewhere in a cemetery in England, George Orwell is rolling over.  But Aldous Huxley is having a good ole laugh.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reuters still lying about Gaza flotilla

Nearly 16 months on, Reuters correspondents are still lying, still misleading readers about the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.  In a story about the deteriorating relationship between Turkey and Israel and efforts by the U.S. to heal this rift, Arshad Mohammed writes:
Israel's May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla killed nine Turkish citizens and the idea of future Turkish naval escorts raise the possibility of a military confrontation between two major U.S. allies in the Middle East.
For the umpteenth time, there was no aid on board the Turkish ship where passengers representing the Islamist İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH) attempted to lynch the Israeli boarding party with knives, iron rods, and chains.  Which may explain why:
Israel's refusal to apologize for the flotilla incident has angered Turkey, an ally of the United States through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and a growing economic power.
Mohammed willfully omits every historical detail exonerating Israel from wrongdoing in the incident including the findings of the United Nations Palmer report which concluded that the Israeli maritime embargo of the Gaza Strip was fully legal and that passengers were seeking a violent confrontation.

Mohammed also understates nearly universal recognition of Hamas as a terrorist group by citing only Israel and the U.S. as those countries which identify the regime as such.  In fact, dozens of other countries, including the entire European Union, officially classify Hamas as a terrorist group.

Mohammed refers to Israeli military action in Gaza in 2008, which sought to stop thousands of rockets fired by Hamas into civilian communities, as an "offensive" and the Reuters correspondent parrots (sans quotation marks) Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan calling Israel "a spoiled client of the West".

In other words, a typical day at the keyboard for a Reuters "journalist". 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fisking Tom Perry (part III)

Continuing with our "Fisk" of Perry's propaganda:
Israel says the [security] barrier was aimed at stopping suicide bombings and other militant attacks and says it is working.   
But Palestinians say it is aimed at seizing control of land. The section that has cut Nabi Samuel off from the rest of the West Bank for example, also loops around nearby Jewish settlements deemed illegal by the world court, anchoring them to Israel.
Perry cites contentious Palestinian claims and then attempts to support those claims with a spurious example and symbolic fiction he wants readers to believe is authoritative and relevant, though the world court's advisory opinion is neither.  At the same time, the Reuters reporter is apparently at a complete loss to verify the simple fact that the Israeli security barrier has indeed reduced, by 99 percent, the number of Palestinian terror attacks in the country.  
Critics say the PA has focused too much attention on the city [Ramallah], turning it into a de facto capital that is taking the place of East Jerusalem, now beyond the West Bank barrier and part of what Israel calls its indivisible capital.
There's that fictional "East Jerusalem" again, which Perry (and his anonymous "critics") lament is being forgotten as aspired-to capital of an aspired-to Palestinian state.  
The [Palestinian] authority points at two major differences between the institutions it has built and a similar project led by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in the 1990s.
Now, there is a transparent system of financial management which has trimmed its reliance on donor support.
The World Bank, in a report published this month, said PA public institutions now compared favorably to other countries in the region and beyond -- another reason Palestinian officials say they are ready to lead a real country.
In actual fact, the World Bank confirmed in its most recent report that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is as dependent as ever on the dole, making the Palestinians the largest per capita recipients of foreign aid in the world.
In the last three months, the PA has twice failed to pay its 150,000 employees their salaries on time and in full, damaging its public standing.
Though the PA has not been remiss in meeting its salary commitments to those Palestinians responsible for the murder of Israelis.
The PA's critics say its strategy of negotiating peace with Israel has been a complete failure.
A complete failure because the Palestinian Authority refuses to enter into negotiations with Israel.
In Gaza, Hamas faces its own dilemma as it tries to reconcile its stated commitment to armed struggle against Israel with its responsibilities as a government eager to avoid punishing Israeli reprisals.
In violation of the Reuters Trust Principles and Handbook of Journalism, Perry employs yet another euphemism ("armed struggle") to conceal the Hamas commitment to genocide of the Jews.
Many argue that the time for a two-state solution has passed. Perhaps. But the Arab Spring might provide new momentum. If Arab governments begin to reflect popular sympathy with the Palestinian cause, then Israel could come under more pressure than ever.
The "Palestinian cause", indeed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fisking Tom Perry (part II)

Continuing with our "Fisk" of Perry's propaganda:
The Palestinian leaders behind the U.N. move argue it will buttress their claims to the West Bank along the border with Jordan, the separate Gaza Strip on the coast and East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as their capital.  They say the step is a result of the failure of the U.S.-backed peace process to deliver Palestinian independence on land occupied by Israel since the 1967 war.
The Palestinians are not satisfied with a fictitious city Reuters cunningly refers to as “East Jerusalem”, but openly acknowledge their demand for the holy city of Jerusalem, a city which has only ever been capital to the Jewish sovereigns and where, beneath its streets and earth mounds, lies three-thousand years of archeological relics attesting to that Jewish history.  Perry's memory is notoriously short, extending back a mere 44 years to the liberation of Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria, land that had actually been occupied by the Arabs of Jordan between 1949 and 1967.
At least 120 countries have already recognized Palestine, including Russia and emerging powers such as Brazil.
While those countries may recognize a nominal "Palestine", they do not recognize its borders or its claim to Jerusalem and have no "state-to-state" relations.
While Israel has removed some of the West Bank checkpoints put up during the last Palestinian Intifada, or uprising, which erupted in 2000 and had mostly fizzled out by 2005, its overall control of the territory appears as firm as ever.
Referring to it with the cheerful euphemism "uprising", Perry sanitizes the Palestinian terror war launched against Israeli civilians, a war where Palestinians murdered over 1,000 people and maimed several times that number before it "fizzled out" in 2005.  Which might explain why...
Israel has created walls, fences, earth barriers, checkpoints, military firing zones, and army bases, all necessary, it says, for the security of the state.
This has left Israel in full control of 60 percent of the West Bank's territory, effectively governing the lives of 150,000 of its 2.5 million Palestinian residents and dominating land seen as crucial to the establishment of a viable Palestine.
Perry and Reuters frequently peddle the canard that a "viable" Palestine somehow requires land that has been ethnically cleansed of all its Jewish inhabitants.  Curious that this same standard is never  applied to the over 1 million Palestinian Arabs living as full citizens within the viable state of Israel.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Fisking Tom Perry (part I)

As one of the most deeply dishonest and propagandistic of Reuters many dishonest and propagandistic correspondents, Tom Perry's stories feature prominently in our site commentary.

In a nearly 1,800-word appeal to pity (Reuters stories typically average about 400 words) on the efforts of the Palestinian Arabs to eradicate Israel obtain their own state, Perry masterfully weaves propaganda, lies, half-truths, and distortions into every paragraph.  Indeed, there are so many journalistic and ethical failures in Perry's piece, our fisking of his story will absorb three posts here at RMEW.

"[Palestinians] squeezed by the rule of Israeli occupation" [in the territories]. 
Jews are in the territories by right in international law, as resolved by the League of Nations nearly a century ago and adopted by the United Nations 25 years later.  There is no “occupation”.

"[Israel has] demolished the [Palestinian] encampments since 1997, typically on the grounds they were put up without permission". 

Yes, just as Jewish settlements not approved by the Israeli government have been demolished, as in Migron just last week.

"Demolitions are just one of the problems that Palestinians living under Israeli control in the West Bank have to deal with”. 

Perry employs the propaganda mantra "West Bank" to identify the disputed territories, an Arab-ethnocentric term invented following expulsion of the entire Jewish population from the area in 1949.  The land is known as Judea and Samaria by the Jews, who lived there for thousands of years before being ethnically cleansed by the invading Arabs.

“The expansion of Jewish settlements has eaten up land”. 

And of the 78% of the original Mandate of Palestine, set aside for a Jewish national home yet "eaten up" by a Palestinian-majority state known as Jordan, Perry is curiously silent.

“Palestinians, along with their property, are increasingly the target of settler violence”.    

Shall we compare the violence of graffiti spray-painted onto a Palestinian mosque with the violence of a Jewish infant butchered in his sleep by Palestinians?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

PLO ambassador says Palestinian state should be free of Jews

In our right-hand column, RMEW links to a series of newsworthy stories censored by Reuters in its Middle East reporting because to cover them, as do other news outlets, would seriously undermine Reuters long-standing pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel propaganda campaign.  There are so many of these stories, we usually just link to them without comment.

On this occasion, we simply had to showcase an article appearing in USA Today:
PLO ambassador says Palestinian state should be free of Jews
Given Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller's intense focus on a domestic staff dispute involving the wife of the Israeli Prime Minister, we're certain he will find the line space to report on this critical policy decision associated with the creation of a Palestinian state.


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

In yet another op-ed, misleadingly packaged as "Analysis", Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Crispian Balmer opines:
Israel fears it could use the ICC [International Criminal Court] to take action against some 500,000 Israelis who live in territory seized in 1967 and whose settlements most world powers regard as illegal.
Like his adolescent colleagues at Reuters, Balmer's memory spans a mere 44 years.  In an effort to portray Israelis living in the disputed territories as interlopers, he fails to inform readers that Jews had made their home in these lands for thousands of years before they were ethnically cleansed from the area by the Arab Legion in 1948-49.

Balmer asserts that most world powers consider settlements illegal, but this is false.  In fact, even officials at the U.S. State Department, not known for their pro-Israel sentiment, go to great pains to avoid using the word "illegal" when describing Jewish communities in the territories, opting instead for rhetoric like "unhelpful" or "an obstacle to peace".

This is by design because these officials know, as does Balmer, that Jews have every right in international law to settle in the territories:
The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.
But when you're committed to advocacy journalism, rather than to your company Mission Statement, propaganda will always win the day.

Monday, September 12, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, September 11, 2011

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

Last year following one of Reuters many doctored photo scandals associated with its coverage of the Middle East conflict, the media behemoth sent its Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Alastair Macdonald, packing to a desk job in London.  Macdonald was subsequently replaced by Crispian Balmer, who has already distinguished himself as, incredible as it may seem, more anti-Israel and agenda-driven than his predecessor.

In a pair of op-eds ("Analysis" in Reuters parlance) published on the 8th and 9th of September respectively, Balmer writes about the new regional dangers facing Israel due to increasing tensions with Egypt following the fall of the Mubarak regime and hostility emanating from the Erdogan government in Turkey.

Balmer's stories are replete with obvious canards, insidious propaganda devices, and racist epithets designed to peddle his editorial agenda and dupe readers into embracing his anti-Israel narrative.  In his story, "Israel faces perfect storm in shifting region" for example, Balmer writes:
Israel is the only country in the Middle East assumed to have a nuclear arsenal. Along with Western powers, it believes Iran is seeking an atomic capability, something Tehran denies.
It is not simply Israel and Western powers that believe, based on the evidence, that Iran is seeking "an atomic capability" (Balmer's euphemism for nuclear weapons), but the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as well that has repeatedly advanced this view.  On most other matters, Reuters correspondents worship at the altar of the United Nations as the ultimate symbol of transnational accord but in the matter of the august body's case against Iran, Reuters is conspicuously silent.  This, to deliberately frame the dispute over Iran's nuclear program as merely a "he said/she said" between Iran and the West, with no objective findings.

Balmer then employs the lather-rinse-repeat sophistry Reuters has been embedding in its stories for over a year now to conceal the hostile nature of the Turkish flotilla trying to run the Israeli maritime embargo of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip:
Turkey was the first Muslim state to recognize Israel, in 1949, but relations nosedived last year when Israeli commandos boarded an aid flotilla challenging a naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave Gaza, killing nine Turks in ensuing clashes.
As we've noted too many times to recount, there was no "aid" on board the Mavi Marmara, where the violence occurred.  Reuters repeated reference to an "aid flotilla", "aid ship", or other such contrivance is deliberately misleading and intended to elicit reader sympathy for the Turkish Islamists manning the ship who, the Palmer report concluded, specifically sought conflict and fought furiously with metal bars, slingshots, chains, staves, and guns in an attempt to lynch Israeli marines, many of whom were seriously injured.

Balmer predictably mentions none of this.

Shifting to a discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Balmer suggests, and employs the assistance of an Israeli academic to second the idea that much of Israel's security dilemma stems from its alleged "failure to articulate a coherent Palestinian policy".  Given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's many public statements since taking office, accepting and specifically outlining his view of the contours of a Palestinian state, and continuing Palestinian rejection of bilateral peace talks to negotiate those contours, it is simply not credible for Balmer (or an academic) to assert an Israeli diplomatic failure to articulate policy on the matter, short of utter surrender -- which likely is what Balmer would wish to hear.

Here too, there is an attempt to obfuscate the historical record:
Diplomats in Jerusalem have said the Obama administration was deeply frustrated by Israel's refusal to freeze settlement building in the West Bank as a way to kick start peace talks.
Balmer fails to mention that Israel did in fact, freeze Jewish settlement building in Judea and Samara (the "West Bank") for ten months in an effort to bring the Palestinian Arabs back to the negotiating table.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas dallied for nine and a half of those ten months, refusing to talk and making it impossible to progress on a peace deal.

Part II on Balmer's canards tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dan Williams, propagandist

In a story on Israeli preparations for Palestinian Arab riots -- er, protests -- anticipated later this month accompanying the Palestinian Authority's bid for statehood at the United Nations, Dan Williams re-writes history and forgets a little something:
Israel is wary of large-scale protests by Palestinians as their leaders sidestep stalled peace talks by appealing for United Nations statehood recognition this month.
A similar deadlock in 2000 triggered a Palestinian revolt that Israel fueled with military crackdowns, resulting in a heavy death toll among unarmed protesters.
As we've noted many times, the Palestinian terror war ("revolt") commencing in 2000 was, according to Palestinian sources, planned months prior to Yasser Arafat's rejection of Ehud Barak's peace offer of a Palestinian state on approximately 94% of the disputed territories.  And while Williams notes the "heavy death toll amongst unarmed [Palestinian] protesters", he appears to have forgotten the heavy death toll amongst Israeli civilians blown-up by armed Palestinian suicide bombers in the same period.

Employing a propaganda technique in which he has become adept, Williams then slips in a fabricated citation:
Brigadier-General Michael Edelstein, the officer crafting Israel's counter-demonstration doctrines, said troops were now better equipped and trained to police the occupied West Bank and the boundaries with Gaza, Lebanon and Syria.
Outside of a few Arabists, Israeli Jews don't refer to the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria as "the occupied West Bank", an Arab-ethnocentric term invented by the government of TransJordan following the ethnic cleansing of Jews in the area in 1948-49.  An Israeli Brigadier-General would almost certainly not use the term, so Williams is fabricating here in an effort to drum into the minds of readers, the notion that the territory rightfully belongs to the Arabs.

Williams then conflates a quote from the same Israeli General with a blatant and reprehensible piece of atrocity propaganda in an effort to demonize Israel:
Asked if this meant that Israeli forces, accused in the past of shoot-on-sight policies against Palestinians, would now show more tolerance, he said: "Much more tolerance."
Accused by whom?  Williams doesn't say.  Note also how the sentence is constructed so as to suggest that the General had acknowledged Williams' atrocity propaganda asserting an Israeli policy of shooting Palestinians on-sight.

Perhaps for his next piece of investigative reporting, Williams can identify the Israeli military directive outlining that policy.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Reuters guilty

Hmm, let's see... In the fifteen months since operatives of the Islamist group İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH) attempted to lynch Israeli naval commandos boarding the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, Reuters correspondents have gone from describing the vessel as "an aid ship", to a ship which "led an aid flotilla", to the more equivocal but still biased, a ship "which the crew said was delivering aid to Gaza".

In hundreds of stories on the incident, Reuters has, to our knowledge, never reported that there was no humanitarian aid on board the Mavi Marmara.  Nor has the media behemoth ever issued a formal correction associated with its many false references to the vessel as "an aid ship".

These reporting failures represent clear violations of the company's Trust Principles, Handbook, and almost anyone's standards of professional journalism.  Yet Reuters refuses to set the record straight.  Why?

Because to acknowledge that they had deliberately misrepresented the facts in an effort to peddle a heavily biased editorial agenda and then disguised those misrepresentations in subsequent stories, would almost certainly result in immediate termination for many correspondents and editors at Reuters.

Similarly, it would expose Reuters as a propagandistic partisan in the Arab-Israeli conflict and subject the company to stakeholder claims of misconduct.

It would be akin for example, to executives at British Petroleum publicly acknowledging that they had behaved irresponsibly and in violation of company policy leading up to the Gulf oil spill and then sought to cover-up their misconduct.

Regrettably, when faced with a loss of income, livelihood or worse, defense mechanisms kick in and corporations and their employees frequently abandon their ethical commitments to stakeholders and the greater public.

We'll continue to remind Reuters of those commitments.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Oops! Louis Charbonneau forgets the scare quotes

Reuters correspondents are adept at employing quotation marks to distance themselves from the words of those they cite.  As in... he said it; not me.  In many cases, particularly when Israeli officials speak, Reuters quotation marks take on a more, shall we say, editorial tone.  As in... he said it; don't you believe it!  We call these scare quotes because they're used to express the writer's own mocking skepticism for what is being said by the party cited.

Funny however, that when a Reuters correspondent agrees with the party being cited, no quotation marks at all appear:
(Reuters) - Turkey said on Friday it will seek to prosecute all Israelis responsible for crimes committed during an Israeli raid on a ship bound for the Gaza Strip that killed nine Turks in May 2010.
Note how Charbonneau slyly conveys as fact, the Turkish allegation implicit in its statement, that Israelis committed crimes.  Charbonneau could have much more accurately and responsibly, bracketed the Turkish government statement with quotation marks.  Had the tables been turned and a similar statement been issued by the Israeli government, experience shows Charbonneau would have gone even further, bracketing the word "crimes" to demonstrate his derision for an unproven and questionable allegation.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reuters, the unscrupulous gatekeeper

Reuters devoted untold barrels of ink last year in a propaganda campaign designed to demonize Israel for its naval blockade of the Hamas-held Gaza Strip and boarding of the Islamist ships trying to run that blockade in May.

The United Nations has now released its report on the incident which found Israel's blockade to be entirely legal in international law.  The investigative panel also said the flotilla "acted recklessly" in trying to breach the blockade and that there were "serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives" of the Islamist İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH), which organized and manned the flotilla. 

Turkey has, in response to the report, expelled Israel's ambassador and terminated military cooperation with Israel.  Here's how Reuters reports on events:
(Reuters) - Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and senior Israeli diplomats and suspended military agreements Friday, the day after it emerged a U.N. report said the Jewish state had used unreasonable force in a raid on a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks.
Stung by Israel's refusal to meet demands for a formal apology, pay compensation for families of the dead, and end the blockade of Palestinians living in the Gaza enclave, Turkey announced it was downgrading ties with the Jewish state further.
"Turkey-Israel diplomatic relations have been reduced to a second secretary level. All personnel above the second secretary level will be sent home by Wednesday at the latest," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara.
While it is true that the UN report also found that the Israel Defense Forces had used unreasonable force following the attempted lynching of the boarding party by passengers, Reuters fails to disclose the relevant findings which exonerate Israel, from any claim of illegal behavior, until the fourth paragraph of the story:
Turkey's reaction to the long-awaited report, which also declared that Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, deepened Ankara's rift with Israel.
Thus, a key conclusion of the report, demonstrating Turkey's rank hypocrisy and contempt for international law in allowing the flotilla to sail, is mentioned only once in the story, buried four paragraphs down.

The power of an editor to decide what is published and where it is positioned is known as gatekeeping.  Reuters demonstrates here how to use that power to advance its own editorial agenda and violate its corporate governance charter.

UPDATE SEPT 3, 2011: The Reuters story cited above has been updated, with the first mention of the UN finding exonerating Israel buried deeper still, now in the 13th paragraph.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Reuters goes tabloid

Reuters Jerusalem Bureau correspondents obviously have too much time on their hands.  Here's Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller with a real barn burner:
Netanyahu's wife in new domestic staff dispute
(Reuters) - The cries for help from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife brought her bodyguard running.
"Security, security!" Sara Netanyahu shouted inside the couple's official residence in Jerusalem.
Lying on the floor, the Nepalese woman hired to care for the prime minister's 96-year-old father-in-law was "slamming herself against the tiles and furniture in a frenzy" after Mrs Netanyahu accused her of being negligent in looking after him.
Oy vey.