Guardian

Silent Witness


Sometimes, what is not reported in the media can be as enlightening as what is. So when the Guardian chooses to virtually or completely ignore a particular story, a certain insight is provided into the workings of the editorial decisions made by that organisation. As we are only too aware, two recent incidents produced a plethora of articles in almost comic proportions on the pages of the Guardian and CiF: the expulsion by the UK of an Israeli diplomat over the alleged forging of British passports and Joe Biden’s decision to be insulted by the workings of an Israeli planning committee. To be honest, I lost count of the precise numbers of articles on these two subjects at some point, but both issues were done to death from any and every possible angle with speculation often rife.

Between the breaking of these two stories another incident occurred which merited only one fairly laconic Guardian article: Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel 100,000 Armenians from his country as a reaction to the decisions by the US and Sweden to describe the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide.

Just Journalism’s Michael Weiss has a very interesting article on this subject on Standpoint, in which he writes:

One would have expected The Guardian, which indeed reported on the nonbinding resolution passed in early March by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee recognizing and condemning the Armenian genocide, to be all over this story. It certainly was incensed at Downing Street’s sheepish reaction to theft of UK passports in the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, widely assumed to have been carried out by Mossad, and now the cause of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband’s expulsion of Israel’s Mossad representative at the Israeli embassy in London. Britain may not have a large Armenian diaspora but it has got a large and vocal Kurdish one, and the Kurds, too, have had their difficulties as an ethnic minority in Turkey. Also, is Turkey not a Nato ally and a perennial candidate for admittance to the European Union?

The entire article is well worth reading and can be found here.

Another story which does not seem to have received any attention at all from the Guardian is that of Muhammed Al Farmawi, aged 15, who was reported by the Gaza Health Authorities as having been killed by the IDF on March 30th during ‘Land Day’ protests in Rafah, despite the fact that Israel denied all knowledge of the incident.

“Gaza – Ma’an – A child was shot and killed east of the Yasser Arafat International Airport in Rafah on Tuesday, medics said.
Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, said Muhammad Zen Ismail Al-Farmawi, 15, was shot dead near the southeasterly border by Israeli forces”

Then, four days later the same boy miraculously reappeared, alive and well.

“It turns out Al-Farmawi was among 17 Palestinians detained by Egyptian forces shortly after the infiltrated the Egyptian side of Rafah via one of Gaza’s numerous underground smuggling tunnels. The detainees, among them 12 minors, were returned to security forces at the border on Friday. They had been questioned about tunnel locations, leading to at least three closures, Egyptian security sources said.”

Should this latest incident, like others before it, raise questions regarding the credibility of official Palestinian sources and their reports of casualties at the hands of Israel? Should it be a lesson to those so eager to believe accusations of Israeli wrongdoings without sufficient proof? Of course it should, but the public apparently only has ‘the right to know’ what the Guardian’s editors want them to know and therefore on some subjects, our journalist witnesses to the events of the world prefer to remain silent, whilst on others they indulge themselves in media gluttony.

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28 replies »

  1. It would seem the Guardian’s principles are encapsulated by the motto, “All the News that Fits our Views.” Orwellian doesn’t begin to describe it.

  2. Israeli nurse

    ” Joe Biden’s decision to be insulted by the workings of an Israeli planning committee.”

    Your honour my client is innocent . He admits he called the officer a ” pig ” in front of everyone in the pub …but no one else took offence! 🙂

  3. Actually he called someone else a pig ”near” the policeman, but since he was a Jew and it was in Jerusalem he had to be guilty as charged. Had he been an Arab the lawyer would have explained that he meant to call him ”big”.

    (I see that I have to explain that the Americans and everyone else very carefully ignored the fact that Ramat Shlomo is in northern, not eastern Jerusalem)

    The excellent nurse is right as usual. He who pays the piper calls the tune.

  4. The Guardian has principles???? excuse me!!!!.

    On the Seth Freedman thread there are blatant anti-Semitic posts that just won’t be deleted.

    A prime example is this post by a cretin called “silentwitness”

    “I don’t think that saving furry animals is gonna do much for the current PR disaster that is the apartheid state of Israel”

    The Guardian must agree with this idiot “silentwitness” that Israel is an apartheid state,because that post is still standing up there.

    Another anti-Semitic post was by this “femalegentile”

    “Hmm and what the Jew wants…the Jew gets.”

  5. Another good article Israelinurse

    It should also be noted, IN, that Turkey fought a war against Armenia in the early 1920’s and incorporated about 50% of Armenia. So not only did Turkey commit the second most studied “genocide” in the in recent history against the Armenian people, but stole their land as well. Where is the outrage from the Guardian, and the call for Turkey to return the land?

    Erdogan is proving to be a thug and a big disappointment. Just like Ahmadinejad, he has banked his rise in popularity (at home and abroad) on criticism of Israel and the IP conflict. He has moved closer to the Arabs and Iran while distancing Turkey from Israel (and the US?). Erdogan has hypocritically criticized Israel while hosting the mass murderer, al-Bashir in his country. He (idiotically) called Operation Cast Lead worse than the massacre in Darfur – again, for political gain.

    Why the Guardian refused to spend any time criticizing Erdogan’s threat to expel 100,000 (illegal) Armenians residing in Turkey is beyond me. Isn’t that a human rights issue? Apparently, the Guardian is only “selectively” interested in human rights, but isn’t that true for the far left in general? The political philosophy of the far left is abased on anti-isms: Anti-Americanism, anti-Israelism, anti-westernism and anti colonialism. They are only pro one thing as far as I can tell – victimism (a word?).

    Thanks IN.

  6. Tom, Erdogan has also begun a campaign of supression of minorities (including Jews and Christians).

  7. Abandon – Biden had several courses of action open to him when faced with the fact that a planning committee had approved an interim stage of a planning application in an area not included in the settlement freeze agreed with his own government. He could have

    a) ignored it.
    b) stated his disapproval privately to Israeli officials.

    Instead he chose, together with his administration, to make a disproportional song and dance about the affair and also to perceive it as some sort of personal slight which it most certainly was not.

    Israel is a functioning democracy like any other. Public meetings regarding planning applications are organised weeks in advance and just like in the UK they appear in the press so that the public can exercise its right to object. We cannot and should not arrange our schedules according to the possibility that some foreign official may decide to drop in for a visit. The peace process is important, but the rest of Israeli life cannot and must not be put on hold in the meantime. If we did that we’d still be in ‘wall & tower’ settlements or ma’abarot.

    Was Biden really personally insulted by this affair? Of course not. It was merely an opportunity which he grabbed with both hands to gain political leverage. Had that planning committee not issued a statement that day, there would probably have been something else to irk him. Maybe the fish would have been too spicy or the hummus a little off.

  8. Toko

    “………Tom, Erdogan has also begun a campaign of supression of minorities (including Jews and Christians)…….”

    Its not surprising considering how they portray the IDF (as baby killers) clearly designed to whip up anti Jewish hatred in a Muslim country (as if that’s necessary). In addition, they have befriended all kinds of anti Western actors including Hamas, Syria and Iran. Their embrace of Ahmadinejad was indicative of the direction that Turkey is going unfortunately.

  9. One of the reasons Turkey is leaning eastwards towards Syria and Iran is because Europe has politely declined their wish to join the EU, pretty much indefinitely and until hell freezes over. You might argue whether it was the right or wrong decision, but that’s for a different forum.

    Consequently all kinds of political bottom-feeders like Erdogan, who will sell their mothers for a re-election, find it easier to cater to the more gut-driven sentiments in the Turkish psych, and swing to religious fundamentalism.

    You might argue that his actions and views vis-à-vis Israel don’t represent the majority of Turks, but then again Mein-Kampf has been a best seller in Turkey for a number of years now (as mentioned though, ironically, in the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/mar/29/turkey.books) so I guess it’s hard to tell.

    Turkey does seem to be one of those “do-no-evil” players in the Guardian world view, and I wonder if some guilt over their exclusion by the EU has something to do with it. And the fact they are a Muslim nation doesn’t help, according to the usual Guardian bias.

    The Guardian though is not alone in their lack of criticism of the world’s compliance with Turkey’s brushing of the Armenian genocide under the mat- The U.S. and Israel are equally guilty in playing along with this sham for their military interests.

  10. “Between the breaking of these two stories another incident occurred which merited only one fairly laconic Guardian article: Turkish PM Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel 100,000 Armenians from his country as a reaction to the decisions by the US and Sweden to describe the World War I killings of Armenians as genocide”

    Not really, of course. There was the article you link to:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/18/turkey-threatens-expel-armenians-genocide

    and then down at the bottom of the page is a link to ‘Turkey threatens ‘serious consequences’ after US vote on Armenian genocide’:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/turkey-us-vote-armenian-genocide

    There were also several other articles on the issue, such as ‘Grim history of Armenians in Turkey that led to accusations of genocide’:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/history-armenia-turkey-genocide

    or the decidedly wishy-washy ‘A diplomatic mistake over Armenia’:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/05/armenian-genocide-resolution-turkey

    and ‘Turkey should pause before a mirror’:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/mar/08/turkey-armenia-genocide-us-vote

    More to the point, needless to say, to date this has proven to be vacuous bluster, and has not resulted in any actual violence towards Armenians. It is noteworthy that Israel has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Perhaps there’s a point of irony in that?

    @endlessspirit re. ““I don’t think that saving furry animals is gonna do much for the current PR disaster that is the apartheid state of Israel”

    Leaving aside whether or not criticising a polity constitutes prejudice, you’re quite correct – Israel proper is not an apartheid state; its administration of the occupied territories is a far more contentious matter, however; and it was presumably this which your source was referring to?
    As for:

    “Another anti-Semitic post was by this “femalegentile”

    “Hmm and what the Jew wants…the Jew gets.”

    where does that appear beyond your own imagination?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/05/israel-fur-ban-orthodox-jews?showallcomments=true#start-of-comments

    @TomWonacott:

    “Why the Guardian refused to spend any time criticizing Erdogan’s threat to expel 100,000 (illegal) Armenians residing in Turkey is beyond me. Isn’t that a human rights issue? Apparently, the Guardian is only “selectively” interested in human rights, but isn’t that true for the far left in general?”

    IsraeliNurse’s piece here is centred on an article appearing in The Guardian, suffice to say. See also:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/04/armenia-turkey-genocide-us-resolution

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/05/history-armenia-turkey-genocide

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/nov/03/armenia-genocide-denial-britain

    along with the dozens of other articles which are catalogued via ‘Armenia Genocide’:
    http://browse.guardian.co.uk/search?search=armenia+genocide&No=10&search_target=%2Fsearch&fr=cb-guardian

  11. Israelinurse

    ” Public meetings regarding planning applications are organised weeks in advance ”

    I thank you for your reply. I sense a positive hope for your country and I wish you well. However I believe that the announcement of the settlements was part of the negotiations whether intention.. as an element in a pluralistic democracy ..or not…I simply believe it was negotiation by another route.

    For many the single biggest problem is that Israel will not move back to the 67 line. All the big Arab countries have agreed in principle. Biden was met by an absolute assurance that the biggest problem would continue.

    They are playing hard ball with the US . Biden had his soft ball hat on.

  12. “Joe Biden’s decision to be insulted by the workings of an Israeli planning committee.”

    Of, come off it!

    Are you thoroughly incapable of admitting the possible fallibility of the Israeli administration?

    Didn’t Barak himself say a mistake had been made? So why can’t you?

    Anyway … you’re absolutely right about the Erdogan story, of course. That is a major issue – particularly given the West’s close ties with Turkey – and should definitely be covered on CiF.

  13. @pretzelberg
    I usually see the Israeli administration fail :/

    Its better to fail because you are walking in your path (Doesnt matter which path ) than to do everything perfect but be nothing more than a no opinion politician .

  14. Joe Biden speaks…

    “When the Stock Market crashed in 1929, President Roosevelt got on television”

    Biden graduated Magna Cum MORON.

    Joe Biden, the gaffe that keeps on giving.

  15. RichardHutton

    “……….More to the point, needless to say, to date this has proven to be vacuous bluster, and has not resulted in any actual violence towards Armenians. It is noteworthy that Israel has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Perhaps there’s a point of irony in that?…..”

    There might be a point of irony, but much of this depends on national interests which sometimes takes priority over human rights, democratization and so on. For the US, of course, Turkey is a key NATO ally as well as a bridge to the Middle East. In return, the US has been very supportive of Turkey’s entrance into the EU.

    For Israel, Turkey has been a key ally in the Muslim world – something that Israel certainly needs and values. Holding Israel to a higher standard as far as human rights goes doesn’t fit the reality in this case which is survival in a tough neighborhood.

  16. Pretzelberg

    Just like Dan Quayle, Biden says some really dumb things which if Dan Quayle (or Sara Palin) said them, the media would have a field day

    From American Pundit:

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    During his interview with Katie Couric on CBS News, Joe Biden (AKA Gaffemaster) had this to say:

    “………..“When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the princes of greed. He said, ‘look, here’s what happened.’”……..”

    First of all, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected 1932 — the market crashed in 1929. Second of all, Philo Farnsworth created the first working television in 1928. Again, the market crashed in 1929. FDR got on a device nobody had at a time when he wasn’t president? Joe, get a history book. Good Lord.

    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Does that help?

  17. RichardButton

    “More to the point, needless to say, to date this has proven to be vacuous bluster, and has not resulted in any actual violence towards Armenians.”

    Your “logic” is shocking. Presumably you don’t mind if your neighbour threatens to kill you, so long as it “does not result in any actual violence”?????

    “It is noteworthy that Israel has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Perhaps there’s a point of irony in that?”

    You seem a bit ignorant. The policy was forced on Israel by (surprise) a Muslim country – Turkey – as a condition of continued alliance and threats to safety of Turkish Jews. Now that Turkey is back-sliding into Islamic dementia and joining the Iranian axis, Israeli policy is likely to change.

    You also avoid the point: Israeinurse was correct in assertion of razor-thin Guardian coverage of the criminal Turkish threat to harm innocents of a particular race or ethnicity (Armenians in Turkey) is response to words from a thrid party (USA, Sweden) – a core element of terrorism. That’s right – you’ve written an apologia for criminal, racist Turkish terrorism on a massive scale.

    But I must compliment your masterful ability to muddy the waters. In your non-response to Israelinurse’s entirely correct assertion of the pro-Islamiist Guardian’s weak coverage of the Erdogan threat, you decided to list no fewer than eight irrelevant links. Not one of them had a word about the Erdogan threat.

    You ought to remember to put your mind in gear before engagng your fingers.

  18. FoolMeOnce

    The U.S. and Israel are equally guilty in playing along with this sham for their military interests.

    I think you mis-evaluate the situation. Turkey has the USA and Israel over a barrel, posing actual mortal threat.

  19. RichardHutton

    Not really, of course. There was the article you link to:

    You listed 5 articles that in some way linked to the Turkish PM’s threat.

    Imagine if Israel had threatened to expel en mass its African immigrants of whom there are quite a few in Israel at the moment. Numbering in the tens of thousands. Many of them Muslims who preferred the safety of ‘apartheid’ Israel to the gentle handlings of the surrounding Muslim brother states.

    Do you feel that The Guardian would have satisfied its ‘self appointed righteousness’ with 5 articles if Israel has stated its intention of expelling these immigrants? Perhaps 20 articles. Or even more. each post giving a platform of sustenance to the resident anti Israel and anti Semitic circus who are so willingly and graciously ‘entertained’ on CiF.

    You might view http://cifwatch.com/cif-commenters/ to see the partial list. I have no idea if it is updated but Dotty and William Bapthorpe are, I am sure, commenting using different monikers.

    This is not ‘vacuous bluster’ as you put it but pointing out the Guardian’s obsession with Israel while almost omitting anything critical of Muslim States or peoples. Especially those that are in conflict in one way or another with the United States of America. (And by extension, with Israel).

    Then.

    Leaving aside whether or not criticising a polity constitutes prejudice, you’re quite correct – Israel proper is not an apartheid state; its administration of the occupied territories is a far more contentious matter, however; and it was presumably this which your source was referring to?

    The Guardian allows the resident anti Israel and anti Semitic circus to comment using the apartheid adjective to describe Israel. You have directed it at the behavior of Israel in the liberated areas. But the truth is that Israel’s policies in the liberated areas bear no real comparisons to apartheid and you know it but prefer to it as ‘more contentious’. Very much goes to subliminal attempts to give a perception of ‘apartheid Israel’.

    At one time, the Palestinians were pretty free to enter Israel proper and use any road that was there. The rise in terrorism is the reason for restrictions and you know it. If there wasn’t terrorism, the situation could return to that situation. (Sorry – Freedom Fighting’ for you).

    It is dishonest to even present it as ‘more contentious’

  20. Hi Toko LeMoko

    “I think you mis-evaluate the situation. Turkey has the USA and Israel over a barrel, posing actual mortal threat.”

    What do you mean? How so?

  21. FoolMeOnce

    Mortal – Turkey coud easily cost US and Jewish/Israeli lives. Complicated issue but trying to summarise:

    US: Turkey is vital to NATO and to US access to its troops in the region.

    Israel: Israel depends on Turkey for military alliance, for containment of Syria, for transit rights, for water (and energy?), and for safety of 25,000 Turkish Jews.

    Turkey doesn’t hesitate to threaten all of these vital US and Israeli interests whenever the Armenian issue arises.

    Now, I’d rather the US and Israel simply write off Turkey but doing so without harming US or Israel would need a complex, planned strategy.

  22. RichardHutton ” that Israel has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. Perhaps there’s a point of irony in that”

    Right off the bat, Israel has never “refused” to acknowledge what happened to the Armenians in 1915. The Knesset hasn’t yet adopted any affirmative resolution on the matter.

    If that’s what you’re alluding to. By the same token, one can also accuse Britain of the same thing given that the British Parliament hasn’t passed similar bills, implicating the Turks in that genocide. Seems like in certain quarters hypocrisy knows no bounds.

  23. Richard Hutton – Erdogan’s statement regarding the possible expulsion of 100,000 Armenians was made on March 17th and was the subject of the article of March 18th cited above. The other articles you quote date from at least two weeks before that and therefore do not relate to the statement.

    Taken in the context of some of the posts, links (ei, for example) and statements on your blog, your additional remarks are somewhat predictable in their innacuracy.

  24. “According to Farmawi [the Gaza boy who was supposedly shot by the IDF], who spent three days in prison, the Egyptian soldiers and policemen beat him and his friends with clubs and electric wires and forced them to sleep on the floor without mattresses or blankets. “In addition to the beatings and verbal abuse, they gave us rotten food to eat,” he said.”

    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=172473

    Ah, how many articles would this produce if the boy was telling these stories about Israel???

  25. Israelinurse

    Richard Hutton – Erdogan’s statement regarding the possible expulsion of 100,000 Armenians was made on March 17th and was the subject of the article of March 18th cited above. The other articles you quote date from at least two weeks before that and therefore do not relate to the statement.

    Thank you for that.

    Sorry I missed.

    Goes very much to The Guardian’s behavior. Misrepresentation and Omission. (DeLuxe).

  26. sababa

    Ah, how many articles would this produce if the boy was telling these stories about Israel???

    Yes. It certainly would loose no opportunity to provide the platforms for the resident Guardian anti Israel and anti Semitic circus

    Thank you sababa. Misrepresentation and Omission

    Quite the opposite from ‘Fair and Balanced’.