Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Sun ratchets up its anti-Israel assault (UPDATED)

The following, which I have submitted to the Press Complaints Commission, is self-explanatory.
This article (see left) is factually wrong, misleading in several ways and shows a blatant anti-Israel bias. Specifically:
  • It states that 14 people were killed “as Israeli troops fired on Palestinian protesters”. But 10 of the fatalities, as stated later in the report, were in the Lebanese town of Maarun ar-Rus. The report fails to mention that it was the Lebanese army who were shooting at these protesters.
  • It fails to report the crucial part of the Israeli claim about the incidents. While it says that the Israelis claimed ‘troops had fired warning shots’ it misses out the crucial information that the fatalities were the result of shooting from the Lebanese army who have a UN-binding commitment to prevent their citizens from breaching the border.
  • It fails to mention the crucial fact that violent protesters from Lebanon and Syria – who numbered in their hundreds actually breached the Israel border in an unprovoked attack, entered Israel and were stoning the handful of Israeli soldiers stationed there.
  • It quotes the Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian claims and condemnation as if these were reliable sources. To quote the Syrian government, which has banned all foreign journalists from its country and is currently engaged in massacres of its own population, as if it were a reliable source is contemptible.
  • It fails to mention that this attack against Israel’s northern borders was coordinated by the terrorist organisation Hezbollah, with the support of Syria’s president Al Assad who saw it an opportunity to deflect attention away from his country’s own revolution against him.
  • It fails to mention the terrorist attack in Tel Aviv the same morning that resulted in a civilian being killed and 17 injured. This terrorist attack, and the attacks in Gaza and the West Bank, were part of a coordinated strategy by Israel’s enemies to ‘celebrate’ what they call ‘Naqba’ day – the day of Israel’s independence 63 years ago.
  • The numbers reported are wrong. Every other report cites at most 11 people killed, of whom 10 were almost certainly killed by the Lebanese army as explained above.
I have written many times recently on this blog about the Sun's increasing hostility to Israel and the reasons behind it. Trevor Kavanagh, the Editor who is genuinely somewhat sympathetic to Israel, ludicrously claimed in last week's Jewish Chronicle that the Sun is ‘pro-Israel’. Other than the very occasional mention by Kavanagh himself in his own pieces, the Sun has not had a single article sympathetic to Israel since Richard Littlejohn left several years ago. More importantly, while the Sun has failed to report ANY of the thousands of rocket and terrorist attacks against Israel in the last three years it now invariably reports ANY story, like yesterday’s, where it can cast Israel in a purely negative light.  Perhaps Kavanagh thinks he can say this in the JC because no Jews actually read the Sun? The Sun may not be as relentlessy vicious in its anti-Israel reporting as the Guardian or the Independent, but its influence is in many ways far greater and is contributing to the casual anti-Israel attitude among people in the UK who would otherwise have no such bias or even interest.

UPDATE, 19 May 2011.  I received the following response from the Press Complaints Commission:

Thank you for your complaint.

I note your position that The Sun coverage is inaccurate as it fails to make clear that the fatalities on the Lebanese border were the result of shots fired from the Lebanese army rather than Israeli troops.

I have attached the BBC report on this matter, which – as you will see – refers to Israeli forces firing on groups of protesters, including those at the Lebanese border. It later refers to Lebanese soldiers firing warning shots, but Israeli troops firing as demonstrators vandalised the fence. The Guardian article makes similar claims (although it refers to four casualties) and states that Israeli military spokesman Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai said that soldiers fired when demonstrators began vandalising the fence. Finally, I attach the Daily Mail article, which also refers to Israeli troops opening fire, although it indicates that defence officials suggested that the Lebanese army might have been responsible for some of the deaths.

It would therefore appear to have been widely reported that Israeli troops were responsible for firing shots that killed protestors, despite the suggestion in the Daily Mail article that the Lebanese army was responsible for some of the deaths. In order for the Commission to gain a full understanding of this matter, it would be most helpful if you were able to explain where you obtained the information that Israeli troops were responsible. I look forward to your response, within the next seven days if possible.

And here is the reply I just sent:

Thanks you for your response. I am well aware that the BBC and Guardian provided similar incorrect anti-Israel reports of the incidents but I fail to see how that is in any way relevant to my complaint against the Sun's coverage. The BBC and the Guardian are intrinsically anti-Israel. You may as well have quoted to Syrian and Hamas positions (actually that is exactly what the Sun, the BBC and the Guardian did).

>>It would therefore appear to have been widely reported that Israeli troops were responsible for firing shots that killed protestors, despite the suggestion in the Daily Mail article that the Lebanese army was responsible for some of the deaths. In order for the Commission to gain a full understanding of this matter, it would be most helpful if you were able to explain where you obtained the information that Israeli troops were responsible.

I assume that there was a typo in that last sentence, and that you meant Lebanese not Israeli troops?

Even with that assumption your request is somewhat bizarre since you already cited one source for the claim that the deaths were caused by Lebanese troops. Moreover, in my complaint I told you another source - namely the Israeli Government spokesman. And that is the whole point of the complaint. The Sun article ONLY provided the claims of the Syrian government - a police state seeking to deflect attention away from its internal revolution. Neverthess, the following information about the incidents were available on 15 May - BEFORE the Sun article (there has been further evidence since 16 May that the Lebanese were responsible for deaths, but that is not relevant to the complaint)

(the above link is especially important so it was on the widely available website of the Israel Defence Forces. You cannot get more of an official claim than that, so there is no justification for the Sun having 'missed it'.


It is also important to note that even within Lebanon, where the official position was to claim the Israelis were responsible for the deaths, there are senior MPs who recognise that the real blame lies with UNIFIL and the Lebanese army. See here:


Monday, May 16, 2011

Pro and anti-Israel demonstrations London 16 May 2011

Hearing at the last minute that a pro-Israel counter demonstration to the 'Naqba' demo outside the Israeli embassy was being planned, we felt it was important to attend, especially as most pro-Israel activists were at a conference in London). Approaching from Kensington Gardens it was nice to see the Israel flags in the main road, and even better to discover that the anti-semites (and that is what they are) were forced into a side-road.

Richard Millett has already posted his report and pictures. Other points to note:

  • A lot of the anti-semites were carrying badges/signs talking about a '63 year occupation'. They no longer hide the fact that they consider every part of Israel to be 'occupied'.
  • The anti-semites were frequently - normally in pairs - walking behind and in front of the pro-Israel demonstrators to intimidate us (the police were not stopping them doing this). The especially hateful ones were English rather Arabs. It is difficult to understand how regular looking middle-class 25 yearold English women can be so consumed with hatred based on a cause for which they have absolutely no understanding. That's why anybody who thinks this is not pure anti-semitism is deluded. 
After returning home I discovered that Israel's borders with Syria and Lebanon had been breached and it was SO predictable how the media - almost totally silent on the Syrian massacres - spun into action to focus all the blame on Israel. Melanie Phillips has some comments on this, but the best piece is by Mordechai Keder - which highlights how patheticly unprepared and weak the Israelis have been. Trusting the defence of Israel to Ehud Barak - the worst politican in Israel's history - is a catastrophe. This is a man who simply does not understand that Israelis are hated by Arabs who want to destroy them.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A childhood remembered on Yom Hatzmaut

The following speech was delivered by my Israeli niece to the Toronto Community (where she is based as part of a programme to promote better understanding of Israel). She recalls her childhood in Jerusalem during the second Intifada - a time when suicide bombings were almost a daily occurrence and when parents often insisted on their children travelling on different buses to school so that if one bus was attacked at least one child would survive.

My name is Talia and I am from Jerusalem. During the second Intifada I was 10 years old.

I never though that it was a different type of childhood than my friends that lived in small and more protected towns, than my family friends that are 10 years older, or than my cousins that lived in London

You probably wonder way? How come?

And the answer to that is very simple: my parents

My parents did what any other parent would have done - protecting me and my brother and sister us much us they could.

So I didn’t go out to the mall with my friends and I never got to see the news even if I really wanted. The first time that I got on a bus was when I was 14 years old.

But of course there are a few memories that I will never be able to forget and no matter how much my parents tried to protect me, some things were just out of their control.

I want to share with you one of them.

It was my 11th birthday and I wanted to invite all of my class so my parents rented a space in French Hill, which is just near to my neighborhood Pizgat Ze'ev in Jerusalem

It was a fun day…all of my friends were there and we played lots of sports and one of them was soccer. It was the penalties, and I, as the Birthday girl, got to take the last one.

And as I was kicking the ball there was a BIG boom and the first thought among my friends and I was "wow what an amazing kick" but it didn’t take more then one minute to start hearing the Ambulances.

At that moment we understood that it wasn’t my kick, it was an explosion. It was on bus number 6, the bus that I take to get home.

All of that was 20 minutes before the end of the party so all of my friend's parents were on the way to pick them up. My parents’ phones started to ring. It was other parents calling to say that there was traffic and they were going to be late.

So we stayed until all the parents got there but there was one Mom that didn’t come. She was one car behind the bus and she was rushed to the Hospital and was diagnosed with shock damage.

I remember my friend’s face when she got the message.

Her Mom was ok but even those few hours were just unbearable.

Every person has a story, an experience that they will never forget and this one is mine

Despite all of this, Israel is my home, and I don't regret growing up in Jerusalem, and I think that it has made me who I am today. I'm proud to go next year to defend my country in the IDF.

Footnote: There were three suicide bombings of No. 6 buses duirng the second Intifada:

  • May 18, 2003 - Eight people were killed and 20 wounded in a suicide bombing on Egged bus no. 6 near French Hill in Jerusalem. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack. A second suicide bomber detonated his bomb when intercepted by police in northern Jerusalem.
  • June 19, 2002 - Seven people were killed and 50 injured - three of them in critical condition - when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus stop and hitchhiking post at the French Hill intersection in northern Jerusalem. The Fatah Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Mar 27, 2001 - 28 people were injured, two seriously, in a suicide bombing directed against a northbound No. 6 bus at the French Hill junction in Jerusalem. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

For a comprehensive listing of bus bombings see here. For details of all suicide attacks in the second Intifada see here.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

The little Bin Laden in the mind of David Cameron

The day after the genocidal Hamas formally merged with the Palestinian Authority, its leader Ismail Haniyeh condemned the killing of  Osma Bin Laden, saying:

"We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior"
And what has been Britain's response to this turn of events, which exposes the Palestinian Authority as a corrupt terrorist organisation with no intention of ever achieving peace with Israel? The government has welcomed the Hamas merger and David Cameron has threatened that unless Israel makes concessions to them he will reward the terrorists by formally accepting the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

Althoogh he does not explicilty refer to David Cameron, the incomparable Sultan Knish has captured Cameron's attitude perfectly in his article today:

"The little Bin Laden sits inside the mind of Western civilizations and issues its list of demands. What speech must be suppressed, what customs must be followed, how Islam must be praised and which of Islam's enemies must be weakened or destroyed."
You should read the whole thing.
The little Bin Laden in the mind of Cameron has made him decide that his main defence against Islam is to try to sacrifice Israel. His £700 million gift to Pakistan to train the next generation of suicide bombers was just the side dish.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Britain's reaction to bin Laden's assassination: surely some mistake?

William Hague and David Cameron have lavishly praised the Americans for assassinating bin Laden. Yet  when the Israelis were suspected (but never proved) to have assassinated Hamas front-man Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, Hague and Cameron were so apoplectic with rage that they expelled an Israeli diplomat from London in protest.

This was despite the fact that Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was the person responsible for shipping Iranian weapons to Hamas in Gaza. His work posed a direct threat to Israel's survival. In contrast, bin Laden no longer represented any kind of analogous threat to the USA.

And here are some other differences worth thinking about:
  • in the bin Laden assassination several civilians were also killed
  • in the al-Mabhouh assassination no other person was harmed
  • the bin Laden assassination took place in a country that is supposed to be America's 'ally'
  • the al-Mabhouh assassination took place in a country that is a sworn enemy of Israel.
  • al-Mabhouh was personally responsible for the slaughter of several Israeli hostages.
  • as despicable as bin Laden was he had never personally murdered any Americans. 
 And while on the subject of British hypocrisy has anybody noticed the deafening silence when NATO airstrikes kill children in Libya? Funny how the argument about 'despots using civilians as human shields' is used as a valid defence in this case but is never allowed to be a valid defence by Israel.

Finally, while the news on bin Laden is obviously welcome, it has two extremely worrying long-term implications.

  1. It will enable Obama to claim a personal military victory that could propel him to a second term in the White House (notice his consant use of the first person in his speech today). Such a term will go a long way to achieving bin Laden's objectives anyway.
  2. The media blackout of all other stories will enable Assad in Syria to crush the rebellion there with even greater brutality and speed, thereby possibly ensuring the survival of the Syria/Iran axis which poses the greatest threat to the world.
Update: Guess who has condemned the bin Laden assassination decrying "the killing of an Arab holy warrior"? Cameron and Hague's new best friend Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. What's the betting you won't hear about that in the British media?