This article (see left) is factually wrong, misleading in several ways and shows a blatant anti-Israel bias. Specifically:
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.
- 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.
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: