Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reuters still downplaying IAEA report on Iran's nuclear weapons program

In our post on November 8, 2011 following the release of the latest United Nations IAEA report on Iran's nuclear weapons program, we noted Reuters long-standing efforts to downplay overwhelming evidence of that program and asked whether the news agency would continue in that vein, notwithstanding the IAEAs damning findings.  Robin Pomeroy, Reuters man in Iran, provides the answer to our question:
Britain last week banned all its financial institutions from any dealings with Iran, including its central bank, after a report by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency suggested Iran may have worked on developing a nuclear arsenal.
The IAEA report "suggested" Iran "may have" worked on developing a nuclear arsenal??

Er, no.  Here's a key section of the report:
The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:
• Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);
• Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);
• The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and
• Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).
Nice try though, Robin.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Former UNIFIL official refers to Israeli communities targeted by Lebanese rockets as "settlements"

Reuters interviewed Timur Goksel, a former UNIFIL official and "security analyst", about the rockets fired into Israel today from Lebanon.  Here's what Goksel had to say:
This looks more serious. The type of rocket and apparent targeting of settlements suggests they were not noisemakers, they actually hit something and didn't mind causing casualties. This one could have caused huge mayhem.
The area hit by the rockets is in the western Galilee of Israel.

But then, the Arabs and their acolytes consider all of Israel to be a "settlement".

Monday, November 28, 2011

The "Freedom & Justice" Party unmasked

Elder of Ziyon calls our attention to the written election platform of the Muslim Brotherhood -- er, the "Freedom and Justice" party in Egypt which includes:
Affirming the right of the Palestinian people to liberate their land, and highlighting the duty of governments and peoples of Arab and Muslim countries, especially Egypt, to aid and support the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance against the Zionist usurpers of their homeland.
There's that dang euphemism for bus bombings again.

Reuters on the other hand, continues to assert that the Brotherhood has renounced violence.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Did a Reuters journalist sign petition calling on Israeli soldiers not to serve in the territories and to "evacuate" Jewish settlements?

A few days ago, a visitor left a comment drawing our attention to an Israeli online petition calling on IDF soldiers not to serve in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the "West Bank") and for Israel to "evacuate" (a euphemism for ethnic cleansing) Jews living there.  The name appearing as signature number 40016 on the petition is "Maayan Lubell".  Coincidentally, Maayan Lubell is also the name of one of Reuters Jerusalem Bureau correspondents.   

That Lubell has amply demonstrated her anti-Israel bona fides in story after story she has written for Reuters; focusing exclusively on a handful of incidents of alleged Jewish vandalism while entirely ignoring hundreds of Palestinian Arab terror attacks against Jews; attempting to conceal the fact that it was only in defense of his own life that a Jewish settler had shot two Palestinians; and lying about the nature of the Turkish flotilla last year where Israeli marines were nearly lynched.

In its Handbook of Journalism, Reuters asserts that it asks all staff to "park" their politics at the door.  Many Reuters correspondents however, much prefer to parade their politics.  The question is, given Reuters much ballyhooed commitment to freedom from bias, why do agency managers put up with it?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reuters turkey stuffed with fatuous assertions

In an op-ed dressed as "analysis" so Reuters can sell the turkey to other media outlets, correspondent Peter Graff stuffs the bird with one of Reuters most ludicrous assertions yet:
(Reuters) - Iran's nuclear standoff with the West has led to much harsher words and new economic sanctions, but Tehran has yet to cross the red lines that would prompt Israel or the United States to contemplate military action.
Does Graff actually want readers to believe that Israel and the United States are not preparing for military action against Iran?  Does Graff think Israel will wait until Iran has tested a nuclear device before attacking Iran's nuclear facilities?  Does he seriously believe the odds for such an attack haven't jumped with the release of the latest UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear program?  

We wonder if Graff has even read the IAEA report.  Here are a few of its choice findings:
Since 2002, the Agency has become increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile, about which the Agency has regularly received new information. [...]
The Agency [IAEA] is still awaiting a substantive response from Iran to Agency requests for further information in relation to announcements made by Iran concerning the construction of ten new uranium enrichment facilities, the sites for five of which, according to Iran, have been decided, and the construction of one of which was to have begun by the end of the last Iranian year (20 March 2011) or the start of this Iranian year.  [...]
Contrary to the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects...
Since its visit to the Heavy Water Production Plant (HWPP) on 17 August 2011, the Agency, in a letter to Iran dated 20 October 2011, requested further access to HWPP. The Agency has yet to receive a reply to that letter, and is again relying on satellite imagery to monitor the status of HWPP.  Based on recent images, the HWPP appears to be in operation. [...]
In resolution 1929 (2010), the Security Council reaffirmed Iran’s obligations to take the steps required by the Board of Governors in its resolutions GOV/2006/14 and GOV/2009/82, and to cooperate fully with the Agency on all outstanding issues, particularly those which give rise to concerns about the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme, including by providing access without delay to all sites, equipment, persons and documents requested by the Agency. Since August 2008, Iran has not engaged with the Agency in any substantive way on this matter. [...]
The information indicates that Iran has carried out the following activities that are relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device:
• Efforts, some successful, to procure nuclear related and dual use equipment and materials by military related individuals and entities (Annex, Sections C.1 and C.2);
• Efforts to develop undeclared pathways for the production of nuclear material (Annex, Section C.3);
• The acquisition of nuclear weapons development information and documentation from a clandestine nuclear supply network (Annex, Section C.4); and
• Work on the development of an indigenous design of a nuclear weapon including the testing of components (Annex, Sections C.5–C.12).
So while Graff acknowledges that:
Some media coverage has suggested a new Middle East war could be coming, if the leadership of Israel decides that it cannot tolerate a nuclear bomb in the hands of a state committed to its destruction.
the Reuters correspondent nevertheless digs up a British "defense analyst" to patronize Israel:
"Up until now, President Bush and President Obama have said don't do it [take military action against Iran]. That's been documented," he said. "This is the multi-billion dollar question: are the Israelis misguided and impulsive enough not to ask the Americans for permission?
Are the Israelis "misguided" and "impulsive" enough to defend themselves in the face of a catastrophic risk to their existence if Obama fails to give them "permission"?

Gobble gobble.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Deeply dishonest -- or dingbat?

Speaking of Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan, she is celebrating the American Thanksgiving holiday by penning one of her classic, I hate Israel polemics.  This one, about Israeli plans to resettle 30,000 of the country's Bedouin population from squalid living conditions in the Negev to communities nearby with housing and utilities, is an amusing attempt to paint Israel as engaging in "ethnic cleansing".

As the Elder of Ziyon website noted last week, the story, which was covered in similarly melodramatic fashion by Haaretz in October, is pure anti-Israel propaganda.  The fact is, the Bedouin being resettled do not own the land on which they are currently squatting and they are stealing both water and electricity.  In exchange for their nomadic wanderings and impoverished lifestyle, the Israeli government is offering them free housing, utilities, health care, and welfare benefits in developed communities.

The obvious question is whether Fisher-Ilan is deliberately obfuscating the facts here, or is she simply stupid?

Reuters only concerned with copy changes when these are pro-Israel

Reuters stories are syndicated to hundreds of other media publications worldwide.  In 2004, CanWest Global Communications, publisher of 13 newspapers in Canada including The National Post, was asked by former Reuters global managing editor David Schlesinger to remove Reuters' bylines (the writer's name) from the agency's stories appearing in CanWest papers.  What had CanWest done to draw Schlesinger's ire?  It had substituted the word "terrorists" for Reuters word choice, "rebels".  And after all, we know that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".

Well apparently, Reuters has no similar problem with The Daily Star of Lebanon altering copy.  Note the following lede in a story authored by Reuters correspondent Allyn Fisher-Ilan which appeared in the paper on November 14, 2011:
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An Israeli ministerial committee gave initial approval Sunday to legislation intended to clamp limits on funding by foreign governments for Israeli organizations. Critics say the measure is aimed mainly at choking off European and other Western aid to left-wing groups. Supporters of the legislation say such monetary support from abroad is tantamount to foreign interference in internal Israeli politics. [emphasis ours]
Fisher-Ilan did not use the modifier "Occupied" in her original story as it appeared on the Reuters website the previous day; this was added by the Lebanese paper.

And that's not the first or only time The Daily Star has adulterated Reuters copy to slant the news against Israel.  Yet, on every occasion, the Reuters writer's name appears in the story.

Apparently, Reuters only takes issue with changes to its copy when these changes are pro-Israel.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Reuters censors, rationalizes Jordanian treatment of Palestinians

The Kingdom of Jordan was birthed from 78 percent of the original Palestine Mandate.  Well over half of its population is Palestinian.  Despite this, the country is ruled by a Hashemite Arab King and over 300,000 Palestinians are forced to live in squalid refugee camps.  Moreover, the Jordanian government has, in recent years, stripped about 3,000 Palestinians of their Jordanian residency.

One would never know any of this reading Reuters, whose correspondents carefully conceal the historical, demographic, and political realities of the situation in an effort to absolve the Jordanian King and his ruling class from any responsibility to provide equal or national rights for their Palestinian population.  These are the same correspondents who with shrillness and hypocrisy call for Israel, which has one-third the land mass, to surrender territory to a hostile Palestinian state.

Reuters correspondents Ali Sawafta and Douglas Hamilton continue in that vein today with a story about Jordanian King Abdullah meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah:
Abdullah, a critic of the deadlock in the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, flew the short distance from his capital, Amman, by helicopter and went directly into talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
It was his first visit to the West Bank since 2000, when Abbas's predecessor the late Yasser Arafat was the undisputed Palestinian leader. Abbas, by contrast, faces a challenge from the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
"The visit comes in the context of Jordan's support for the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people to achieve Palestinian national rights and an independent state," a Jordanian palace official told Reuters Sunday.
And for its maltreatment of the Palestinians, which is never mentioned in the story, here is Reuters generous pretext on behalf of the Jordanian monarchy: 
The Jordanian government fears further instability will lead to a new influx of Palestinians which could stretch already scant resources and raise tension with Jordanians.
Reuters: Arab apologists to the end.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief transfers to France

Less than 14 months after he assumed the mantle from Alastair Macdonald, Crispian Balmer is officially out as Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief.  As with his predecessor, Balmer was vehemently anti-Israel in his reporting and editing and we noted this in many of our posts.  Perhaps the most egregious example of Balmer's many appalling displays of journalistic malfeasance, was when, following a Palestinian bus bombing, the Bureau Chief wrote:
Police said it was a "terrorist attack" -- Israel's term for a Palestinian strike.
Especially ironic in view of the fact that even the Palestinian Prime Minister referred to the attack as terrorism.

We look forward to a new Reuters regime in Jerusalem, and genuinely hope this time, we will see change for the better.

Maayan Lubell and Reuters get perspiry about new Israeli bills to discourage foreign subversion, liberalize libel laws

The Israeli government is considering several new legislative bills, one of which is intended to make it more difficult for foreign governments and other agents to subvert internal Israeli politics by funding anti-Israel NGOs.  The other bill is written to liberalize Israel's libel laws, making it easier for plaintiffs to sue for damages and to collect larger awards when successful.  The possibility of legislative changes like these makes Maayan Lubell and the other journallibelers at Reuters quite nervous:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put on hold on Sunday legislation to limit foreign funding of non-governmental organisations, a government source said, after critics denounced the bill as a bid to mute left-wing groups [...]
The measure, proposed by members of Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party, has touched off a public debate in Israel on whether his government is stifling democratic freedoms and trying to muzzle critics of its policies towards Palestinians [...]
In Tel Aviv, Israeli journalists convened what they called an emergency conference on Sunday in response to proposed amendments to the country's libel laws and what organisers said were assaults against freedom of the press.
Such legislation would be very bad news indeed for radical left-wing journalists who regularly employ every dirty trick in the book to push the Palestinian Arab agenda and tear down the Jews of Israel.

Yet while Lubell and her cronies are aghast at what they call "assaults against freedom of the press" in Israel, the nation where Reuters is based and where a large number of the agency's correspondents hail from, lived, worked or trained at one time or another -- the UK -- has the most draconian libel laws in the world.

A few years ago for example, Saudi billionaire, Khalid bin Mahfouz sued academic scholar Rachel Ehrenfeld for libel in the British courts following an evidentiary assertion in her book, Funding Evil, that Mahfouz had financed al Qaeda through his bank and charitable organizations.  Despite the fact that Ehrenfeld's book was not even published in the UK (23 copies were purchased online by British customers), the English judge found, with Ehrenfeld in absentia, for Mahfouz and ordered Ehrenfeld to pay monetary damages, issue an apology, and destroy existing copies of her book.

We don't recall the civil libertarians at Reuters raising a fuss on behalf of Dr. Ehrenfeld at the time.

Note also how, in an effort to suggest that the Israeli government is targeting the left-wing, Lubell calls attention to the closure of a radio station, operating without a permit and broadcasting Palestinian propaganda:
On Thursday, Israeli authorities shut down an Israeli-Palestinian radio station, "All For Peace", based in the occupied West Bank. A spokesman for Israel's Communications Office said it was a pirate station operating illegally.
But the station's Israeli director, Mossi Raz, said the order was aimed at silencing critics of Netanyahu's right-wing government.
Lubell doesn't mention that the government similarly shut down the politically conservative Arutz Sheva radio station for operating without a permit in 2003.

As is always the case with the Israel-hating left, and particularly with Reuters, what's sauce for the goose is apparently not sauce for the gander.

Friday, November 18, 2011

How to write a straight story on the Middle East conflict, a lesson for Reuters

When it comes to reporting on the Middle East conflict, systematic bias can be seen in the stories of a great many publications and news agencies, including the Associated Press (AP).  In the race to advocate for the Palestinian Arabs and demonize Israelis however, Reuters proudly leads the pack.

Consider for example, this AP story, published on Wednesday, about Israel allowing building materials into Gaza for the reconstruction of privately-owned factories.  The story is basically balanced, straightforward, factual, and provides contextual detail necessary to understand how and why events have unfolded:
Until now only international projects have been allowed to import such materials, which Israel restricts because of concerns they could be used by Gaza militants who regularly launch rockets at Israeli towns.
Although AP refers to Palestinians who deliberately fire rockets at civilian communities as "militants" when they would more accurately be identified as terrorists, there is at least an acknowledgement that Gazans are regularly launching rockets at Israeli towns.  Not so with Reuters, which in dozens of recent stories, either omits mention of these Palestinian attacks or overtly lies about the situation by asserting that Palestinian terror factions have been observing a "de facto truce" with Israel.

AP continues:
Hamas-ruled Gaza is subject to an Israeli and Egyptian blockade that includes restrictions on the movement of goods and people.
Reuters prefers to demonize Israel by almost always failing to mention that Egypt too, has been blockading the Gaza Strip.

More from the AP story:
The factories being rebuilt were destroyed or damaged in fighting in 2009, when Israel invaded to try to stop near-daily rocket salvos.
Yes, Israel invaded Gaza to try to stop near-daily rocket attacks.  Reuters correspondents on the other hand, systematically employ the propaganda mantra "Israeli offensive" to describe the Gaza war and only rarely associate Israel's defensive operation there with the thousands of precipitating Palestinian rocket and mortar blitzes.  Indeed, readers following Reuters would likely come to believe that Israel regularly launches unprovoked attacks against its neighbors.

And unlike Reuters, AP pulls no punches on the support for, or status of, Hamas:
Hamas, an Iran-backed militant group, is considered a terror organization by Israel, the U.S. and the European Union. It has ruled Gaza since 2007.
It's not difficult to write a straight story on the Arab-Israeli conflict -- unless of course, you're a twisted news agency.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Racists at Reuters still refer to "Arab East Jerusalem"; no mention of why the city was Arab between 1948 & 1967

Palestinian Arabs who are not residents of Jerusalem are restricted from riding Israeli buses into the city.  This policy, to protect passengers from the scourge of Arab bus-bombing that killed hundreds of Israelis, foreign tourists and workers during the last Palestinian terror war, was challenged yesterday by a handful of Palestinians referring to themselves with the Orwellian catachresis "freedom riders".

Reuters correspondent Jihan Abdalla, who barely mentions the reason for the travel restrictions, nevertheless gives full voice to the protesters:
"My message is that Israel conducts a racist regime," said protester Badi Dweik before he was dragged off the bus by police at Hizme checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
Dweik said he had been barred from nearby Jerusalem for 12 years while settlers could travel freely to and from the Holy City. Israel captured Arab East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it as its capital, a move not recognised abroad.
The supreme irony of course, is that Abdalla employs the racist epithet, "Arab East Jerusalem", to describe the city as it was sometimes referred to between 1948 and 1967, a period during which Jews were ethnically cleansed from Jerusalem by the Arabs, barred from living, working, praying in, or visiting the city.

Predictably, that irony is lost on Abdalla and Reuters.

                            Jews being driven from Jerusalem by the Arab Legion

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeffrey Heller, Maayan Lubell have cappuccino together over the weekend, come up with new antisemitic campaign

It never ceases to amaze us how correspondents in Reuters Jerusalem Bureau appear to spend all of their time planning, researching, and writing antisemitic stories.  In what amounts to a carnival hall of distorted mirrors, the Reuters crew obsessively reflect only that which, in their view, is grotesque about Israel and its Jewish citizens.

Take for example, two stories published on the Reuters websites early this morning by Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller and correspondent Maayan Lubell, respectively.  Heller's story is about a letter written by Israeli generals to Defense Minister Ehud Barak asking him to refrain from imposing Orthodox religious norms on Israeli soldiers that would tend to result in the exclusion of women from some combat units.

Lubell's 1,100+ word magnum opus reports on an issue near and dear to the hearts of Reuters pseudo-feminists like Lubell and Allyn Fisher-Ilan: gender segregation on Israeli buses.

Now, why do we call these stories antisemitic and refer to Lubell and Fisher-Ilan as pseudo-feminists?

Because while one can certainly debate the legal and ethical merits of incorporating religious sensibilities into civil law which foster gender inequalities, Reuters correspondents never call similar attention to Muslim practices in Israel and the Arab countries which are as, or even more, draconian. 

That's called the soft bigotry of low expectations.  It's also antisemitism.   

Friday, November 11, 2011

Patrick Worsnip explains how the West is "harassing" Syria

3,500 people murdered by the Assad regime in Syria and the world is standing idly by. 

Reuters has been tossed out of the country by Assad and has only one correspondent, Khaled Yacoub Oweis, reporting on the daily mass killings.  With penetrating journalistic insight however, Patrick Worsnip, Reuters UN correspondent, has identified the West's secret weapon:
Western governments have called on Assad to leave power and have waged a campaign of diplomatic harassment, for example by keeping Syria off the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Yes, we're certain Assad is quivering in his jackboots under that intense pressure.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ori Lewis portrays Israelis as scornful conquerors, refers to Gazan Arabs as "indigenous population"

In a story about a stage performance by an Israeli troupe depicting the Hamas-Israeli war in 2008 (characterized by Reuters as "Israel's offensive") and the death of a Gazan Arab's daughters and niece from a tank shell directed at two Hamas operatives on the roof of their house, Reuters correspondent Ori Lewis describes the play's enactment of alleged events following the 1967 Arab-Israeli war:
The turning point in the 75-minute performance came about two-thirds through when Naomi described the 1967 Middle East war, when Israel defeated its Arab neighbors and captured large tracts of territory from them.
She enacted scenes of a bus tour to the Gaza Strip, typical of the day, by triumphant Israeli civilians who visited areas of the "newly acquired" lands, and their disdainful treatment of the indigenous population.
Note how Lewis portrays the Israelis, who had just survived a war against the combined armies and resources of 11 Arab states along with the Palestine Liberation Organization, as triumphalist and rapacious, having conquered the territory of the "indigenous population".

That Israel rejected annexation of those "newly acquired lands" and offered numerous times to return Gaza to the Egyptians, or that Jewish communities in Gaza predate Palestinian Arab settlement there by centuries, is willfully omitted by Lewis.

Those realities would, after all, distract from Reuters' carefully staged tale of Israel as brutish occupier and the Palestinian Arabs as innocent victims.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

IAEA report: Iranian nuclear weapons program confirmed

The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency has released its report on Iranian nuclear activities and confirmed that Iran has been plowing ahead in essentially all critical areas necessary to building and delivering a nuclear warhead.

Our question is whether Reuters will continue to spin the matter as a he said, she said between the amorphous "West" which merely "suspects" Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and Iran which is always reported as only being interested in generating electricity. 

Or will Reuters finally acknowledge the reality that intelligence gathered from around the world, assembled and analyzed by independent scientists, points in one direction only?

Knowing Reuters as we do, we're not betting on the latter.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reuters careful not to offend its master

In a profile piece on Saudi King Abdullah published in October, Reuters correspondent Angus McDowall illustrates Reuters' commitment to protect and promote the image of those who, in turn, protect its corporate and ideological interests.  If you can stomach it, have a gander at McDowall's puff piece on Abdullah:
DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has pushed cautious social changes in the world's top oil-exporting country and guided it through a turbulent time that included an al Qaeda uprising, confrontation with Iran and the Arab Spring upheavals in neighbouring states.
Abdullah had an operation on his back on Monday, almost a year after undergoing two rounds of surgery to treat a herniated disc that led to a three-month absence from the kingdom.
The softly spoken Abdullah was born in the royal court of his father, King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, in the early 1920s, when the capital Riyadh was a small oasis town ringed by mud-brick walls at the centre of an impoverished but rapidly growing kingdom.
But after becoming de facto regent as crown prince when King Fahd had a stroke in 1995, and as king from 2005 onwards, he enacted reforms aimed at reconciling Saudi Arabia's conservative traditions with the needs of a modern economy.
Although later in the piece, McDowall cites, in fastidiously sanitized fashion, a handful of examples of political oppression and misogynistic practices in the Kingdom, the overall feel of the story is sickeningly sycophantic.

Entirely omitted from the piece is any mention of the cruelties and human rights abuses institutionalized in the country's Sharia-based legal system, a royal ban on religious practice by non-Muslims (and systematic persecution of those who violate that ban), and Saudi funding of terrorist and antisemitic elements around the world.

A "cautious reformer" indeed.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chuckle of the day

Alastair Macdonald is Reuters former Jerusalem Bureau Chief.  His stint in that role (followed by transfer to a desk job in London) happened to come to an end a few weeks after it was discovered Reuters had doctored photos excising a passenger brandishing a knife and a pool of blood next to two injured Israeli marines during the Turkish flotilla incident last year. 

Googling "Alastair Macdonald Reuters" today yielded an amusing result in position #3:

Hamas | Reuters Editors
Jan 15, 2009 – Alastair Macdonald | bias | david schlesinger | Douglas ...

Sometimes those old romantic associations are hard to escape.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Maayan Lubell perpetuates lie about Mavi Marmara

In a story on the latest attempt to run the Israeli maritime embargo of Hamas-run Gaza, Reuters correspondent Maayan Lubell once again lies about the nature and objective of the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, where Islamist passengers attempted to lynch Israeli marines boarding the boat:
In May 2010, Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish aid vessel to enforce the naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave, and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists, some of them armed with clubs and knives.
There was no "aid" on board the Mavi Marmara; this is a willful misrepresentation appearing in scores of Reuters stories on the incident, employed in a transparent bid to exculpate the Islamists of attempted murder and to demonize Israel.

The stink-balm peddler strikes again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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