Partisanship in the Guardian’s Middle East Coverage

The role of Brian Whitaker, Middle East editor and reporter for Guardian Unlimited and the Guardian newspaper

This is a cross-post from CAMERA of an article from 2006 that is as relevant then as it is today

In the early years of the Zionist movement, the longtime publisher of the Guardian, C.P. Scott, had a close relationship with Zionist Chaim Weizman, and the left leaning paper was considered highly sensitive to the plight of the Jews and their desire for a homeland. But after Israel’s victories in the 1967 war much of the Left turned against the Jewish state. As a media standard bearer for highbrow left of center politics in Britain, the Guardian followed suit becoming increasingly critical of Israel. In recent years, some have accused the Guardian of fueling hostility towards the Jewish state through its unbalanced reporting of events in the Middle East. The coverage by Brian Whitaker, who has served as the paper’s Middle East Editor since May 1999 and contributes articles for Guardian Unlimited, the internet edition of the Guardian, as well as the Guardian paper, is representative of the paper’s perspective.

Mr. Whitaker’s interest in the Arab world predates his joining the Guardian, as evidenced by the extensive Web site he created in February 1998 and still administers, that “aims to introduce non-Arabs to the Arabs and their culture” and “tries to celebrate the achievements of Arab culture and to discuss its failings openly.” The site originally contained a listing for Palestine, but not one for Israel, which Mr. Whitaker explained was because he only included members of the Arab League, although it now contains a listing ‘Palestine-Israel.’ When mentioning Israel, Mr. Whitaker’s Web site stated, “we follow the definition accepted by most of the international community and the PLO, i.e. the boundaries existing at the start of the 1967 war.”

Many of his articles on Israel appeared in the Internet edition of the Guardian, known as Guardian Unlimited. These articles reveal a skepticism about information provided by the Israeli government, and a suspicion of those who support the Israeli narrative of events. This contrasts with a habit of uncritically including comments that condemn Israel or paint a benign picture of Arab intentions. Whitaker is reflexively antagonistic towards Ariel Sharon, frequently ascribing base motives to the Israeli Prime Minister. He also disparages the Bush administration for what he calls its undeserved support of Israel and claims it is manipulated by ‘neo-conservatives.’ Critical of what he considers overly cautious and docile journalism that is too willing to accept the Israeli perspective, Whitaker’s approach has resulted in errors that are glaring in hindsight. Nevertheless his writings are representative of the Guardian’s approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Muhammad al-Dura
In “War of words in the Middle East (Guardian Unlimited, 10/05/2000),” written shortly after the young Palestinian boy Muhammad al-Dura was allegedly shot by Israeli soldiers, Whitaker informs readers that “covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a challenge for writers as words can cause political offence, and attempts to be fair can lead to inaccuracies.” Whitaker faults journalists for not being willing to ascribe blame. There is no doubt in Brian Whitaker’s mind that it was the Israelis who shot Muhammad al-Dura. And he knows exactly where to ascribe blame. Despite significant uncertainty over what actually occurred, Whitaker places the blame squarely on Israel, writing:

My first thought was that the killing of Mohammed should be required viewing for every American voter, so that they can see what their $3 billion-a-year aid to Israel pays for.

It is now clear that Mohammed was shot by the Israelis, probably deliberately (and anyone who still doubts that should read the detailed article, Making of a martyr, by my colleague, Suzanne Goldenberg. But on Saturday, as the British Sunday papers went to press, the facts were still unclear. )

He concludes the article with a comment about Ariel Sharon’s “antics,” writing, “in 1953 he had founded the notorious Unit 101 commando group which had killed 69 civilians, mostly women and children, ‘by accident’ at Qibya in Jordan,” implying that both the killing of Muhammad al-Dura and the Qibya incident were intentional.

Though questions about the incendiary story of the alleged Israeli killing of al-Dura quickly arose, Whitaker repeated his unfounded charge that Israel “probably deliberately” shot the boy. As recently as August 2003, Whitaker wrote in the Guardian Unlimited that Israel shot Muhammad al-Dura. Nor has he reported on several recent investigations by American and European journalists showing Israelis could not have shot the boy, who almost certainly was killed by Palestinian gunfire. There is some evidence to suggest the whole incident was staged. Mr. Whitaker has missed the real story.

In another Guardian Unlimited article, “Battle for Truth in Jenin,” (04/23/02) written after serious doubts surfaced about the allegations of a massacre in Jenin by Israeli troops earlier that month, he justifies charges against Israel even while admitting that the allegations may be untrue:

Most people would know a massacre if they saw one. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘massacre’ is a noun meaning ‘general slaughter, carnage; utter defeat and destruction’ or a verb meaning to “murder cruelly or violently a number of persons”. The Israeli government objects to the word ‘massacre’ being used to describe what happened in Jenin refugee camp earlier this month.

“Only” 40 or so Palestinians were killed, it says, and they were all terrorists. There are good reasons for believing both these Israeli claims to be false but, even if they were true, the nature of the act is no less important than its scale.

In fact the United Nations investigation would conclude that no massacre had occurred and put the number of Palestinian killed at 52, not the 500 claimed by the Palestinian authority. A majority were armed militants.

Implicitly accepting allegations of Israeli war crimes, Whitaker reports, “It goes almost without saying that the longer the delay the less evidence of any war crimes there will be.” He goes so far as to comment that the preliminary evidence suggests a comparison to what Slobodan Milosevic did in the Balkans. Whitaker’s utter lack of balance is clearly in evidence here. In the Balkans, tens of thousands of unarmed civilians were slaughtered. In Jenin, the United Nations, Israel and a consensus among human rights organizations concluded that approximately 52 Palestinians perished, the majority of whom were armed fighters.

Unsatisfied by Israel’s acceptance of a UN fact finding mission regarding events in Jenin, Mr. Whitaker disparages the United Nations involvement, claiming it was being sabotaged by the United States and Israel. He describes the UN effort to develop accurate information through a fact-finding team as a “way to fend off demands for serious action.” Apparently, if the facts don’t fit Whitaker’s pre-conceived notions, he simply disregards them.

He concludes the article with characteristic cynicism regarding Israeli motives, writing:

Israel may find it impossible to stop the full enormity of what happened from leaking out… There are also plenty of Israeli soldiers who know what happened and may in time be tugged by their consciences to speak out.

The Israeli government, meanwhile, insists that it has nothing to hide. If that is the case, then why try to prevent the world from discovering its innocence? Obstructing investigations, as the lawyers say, is evidence of a guilty mind.

Curiously, an article appearing in the Guardian newspaper co-written by Chris McGreal and Brian Whitaker that same day did not include the cynical editorializing cited above although it still carried the unsubstantiated accusations made by officials from various agencies. Allegations implying an Israeli massacre by a forensic ‘expert’ were reported in at least three separate articles by Whitaker despite widespread skepticism that such a massacre had occurred.

Karine A
In “The strange affair of Karine A” (1/21/02) , Whitaker writes that “Israel’s official account of the Palestinian Authority’s connections with a ship found loaded with weapons makes little sense.” He boasts about not being invited to attend a briefing by the Israeli embassy because they disliked his previous reporting on the affair in which he implied the Israeli seizure should have been regarded as “piracy” except for the excuse of the war on terrorism. Whitaker devotes the rest of the article to casting doubt on the Israeli account, which . At one point, Whitaker asks, “Would the Palestinian Authority really be so stupid as to imagine that it could successfully import the weapons in this way?” It turns out that apparently they were. (As one U.S. State Department official  put it, “there is quite a bit of compelling evidence that figures Fatah and the Palestinian Authority were involved in this shipment.”)

Even in the case of an event such as the Palestinians importing massive amounts of weaponry, an act clearly contrary to peace, Whitaker points the accusatory finger at Israel. He charges the “Karine A affair provides an excuse for Mr. Sharon to obstruct moves towards a resumption of the peace process,” suggesting that the Israelis will manipulate the events to pursue goals that will not contribute to peace and stability. He concludes: “But you can be sure that Israeli embassies around the world will be working hard to promote them [goals] at select gatherings of diplomats and journalists.”

Though Mr. Whitaker’s writing betrays a striking lack of neutrality, this does not prevent him from sharply criticizing others for alleged partisanship towards Israel. In an article in the Guardian Unlimited on August 12, 2002, titled “Selective Memri” he attempts to discredit the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), an organization upon which many Western news sources rely for translations of sermons, television broadcasts and newspaper articles in the Arab media. While admitting he is unaware of anyone who disputes the accuracy of MEMRI’s translations, Mr. Whitaker nevertheless dismisses MEMRI as biased, asserting that “the stories selected by Memri for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel…”

To support his assertion of MEMRI’s bias, Whitaker cites a story by Iraqi doctor Adil Awadh, that claims “Saddam Hussein had personally given orders to amputate the ears of military deserters.” In a Guardian (8/8/2002) and Guardian Unlimited (8/12/02) story, he suggests Mr. Awadh’s story should be viewed with skepticism.

It was the sort of tale about Iraqi brutality that newspapers would happily reprint without checking, especially in the current atmosphere of war fever. It may well be true, but it needs to be treated with a little circumspection,

he wrote. The paper was forced to issue a correction, indicating Dr. Awadh had no connection with MEMRI and that his reference to orders by Saddam Hussein to cut off the ears of deserters was supported by evidence from other sources.

Dismissive of MEMRI’s publicizing of articles which appeared in the Saudi controlled press that accused Jews of using the blood of Christian and Muslim children in pastries, Whitaker describes them as “propaganda successes … scored against Saudi Arabia.” Charging that MEMRI was impugning the Saudi government, he wrote, “But Memri claimed al-Riyadh was a Saudi ‘government newspaper’ – in fact it’s privately owned – implying that the article had some form of official approval.”

Yigal Carmon, co-founder of MEMRI responded on 8/21/02 (Media organisation rebuts accusations of selective journalism ) noting “[Al-Riyadh] is a paper which, contrary to Whitaker’s statement, is identified as government-controlled by the Saudi government’s website, by the BBC and by news agencies such as Associated Press.” Carmon also noted that despite Whitaker’s dismissal of the articles as trifles of Arab ignorance, the stories were repeated in the “major Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram whose government-appointed editor-in-chief was facing prosecution in France for incitement to anti-semitism and racial violence.”

Whitaker betrays a conspiratorial view of Israeli and American policy in the Middle East and a penchant for innuendo. In the same article about MEMRI, he writes:

These incidents involving Saudi Arabia should not be viewed in isolation. They are part of building a case against the kingdom and persuading the United States to treat it as an enemy, rather than an ally. It’s a campaign that the Israeli government and American neo-conservatives have been pushing since early this year….

He describes MEMRI as a “mysterious” organization staffed by Israeli intelligence officials. In his response, Carmon debunks these accusations and discusses the projects in which his institute is openly engaged:

a variety of projects, apart from translating material into most European languages and Turkish: an economic project, headed by a former World Bank expert, an Arab anti-semitism documentation project, studies of school books from Arab educational systems, monitoring Friday sermons in the Arab world.

Whitaker’s research also ‘reveals’ that Memri co-founder, Meyrav Wurmser, is also director of the center for Middle East policy at the Hudson Institute and notes that the “ubiquitous Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon’s defence policy board, recently joined Hudson’s board of trustees.”

Not surprisingly, Whitaker does not see MEMRI’s translation service as a way of breaking down the language barrier. Rather, he suggests it exploits that barrier:

All it takes is a small but active group of Israelis to exploit that [langauge] barrier for their own ends and start changing western perceptions of Arabs for the worse.

Again, acting as a partisan, he urges Arabs to counter MEMRI by setting up a similar organization and castigates them because they “prefer to sit back and grumble about the machinations of Israeli intelligence veterans.”

Unfazed by his paper’s having to correct false assertions about MEMRI, Whitaker refered to the topic in “Language Matters,” on 9/28/2005 where he again impugns the organization:

Though Memri claims to be “independent”, its founders were Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence – who is currently its director – and Meyrav Wurmser, an ardent Zionist…

Whitaker’s Wording
Terminology is very important to Whitaker. In an article billed “Brian Whitaker on the dangers of sloppy journalism (4/9/2001),” he discusses how language should be used to describe the conflict. He complains that journalists describe the West Bank as disputed or administrated by Israel when it should be described as occupied.

The Jewish settlements, according to Whitaker, are illegal and should always be labeled as such. He also accuses journalists of being

rather timid on the question of Jewish settlers, usually portraying them as a target of violence but more rarely as one of the major causes (which they plainly are). Some of the recent stories about the killing of a 10-month-old Jewish baby, Shalhevet Pass, in Hebron made clear that the settlers there are a tiny and particularly fanatical bunch – though many did not.

Contrast this with the description of armed Islamic Jihad and Hamas members that appeared in several Guardian articles as “armed activists.” For example, the headline of a dispatch on September 30, 2005 reads, “Palestinian elections marred as Israel kills three more activists..” The article begins by describing how “Israel killed three armed Islamic activists as it continued a week-long assault against Hamas.”

Whitaker’s bias is evident again in his inverted commentary on the issue of reporting cause and effect. He alleges reporters describe Israeli military actions as a response even when, he claims, the Israelis struck first.

Response is a very useful word. It provides a ready-made reason for the Israelis’ actions and neatly brushes off demands for further explanation…

Portraying the conflict as a series of Palestinian actions and Israeli responses is dangerous, for several reasons.

Firstly, it lends support to the Israeli argument that if only the Palestinians would stop their violence everything would be fine…

Secondly, it builds up – through constant repetition – into a misleading picture of the overall conflict. The violence is not a series of discrete actions and reactions but a cycle (or spiral) in which actions on both sides feed off those on the other.

Thirdly, while Israeli actions are reported as a self-justifying ‘response’, actions by the Palestinians are rarely allowed either a proper context or an understandable motive…

Whitaker gets to his real point, stating:

The Israeli occupation lies at the root of the conflict – and yet, more often than not, journalists fail to remind their readers of it.

Reports on an October, 2005 Palestinian suicide bombing and Israeli response underscores how Mr. Whitaker’s skewed perspective is applied in the Guardian’s Middle East coverage. In “Suicide bomber kills five in market attack: Blast is reprisal for death of West Bank militant: Sharon accused of playing into hands of extremists(10/27/05),” Chris McGreal and Conal Urquhart report:

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed five Israelis in a busy coastal market yesterday in retaliation for the army’s killing of Islamic Jihad’s military commander in the West Bank earlier this week.

In fact, the suicide terrorist attack in Netanya, like all such bombings, entail extensive pre-planning and are not launched overnight. That report was followed up by an article on the Israeli response in “Gaza strip: Palestinians say Israel agrees to cease-fire (10/31/05).” Conal Urquhart writes:

Palestinian officials said yesterday that agreement had been reached with Israel to cease hostilities in the Gaza Strip. The agreement, which was not immediately confirmed by Israel, could end a cycle of violence which began with the killing of Palestinian militants in the West Bank last week. On Wednesday a suicide bomber killed five people in an Israeli market and Israel retaliated with attacks in Gaza which killed at least nine militants and civilians.

The article suggests that the “cycle of violence” began with an Israeli action but in fact, six days prior to that, Palestinian terrorists had killed three Israelis in a drive-by shooting. Furthermore, the killing of the militants cited in the article was a result of a gun battle that erupted when Israelis attempted to arrest the two terrorists.

Assailing Sharon
While Whitaker can at times be critical of Arab leaders, he is also flattering towards some of the most regressive regimes. Reflecting the well-known Arabist sentiment of the British foreign office, in an article he co-wrote with David Hirst and Martin Bright, entitled “After Assad” (6/11/2000), the reporters quote British foreign minister Peter Hain describing Bashar Assad as:

worldly-wise, open to ideas and very impressive… He has… the vision to allow Syria to make a historic leap forward to becoming a modern Arab nation. I believe he is absolutely committed to the peace process. Building on the courageous steps his father took, he’s the sort of person who could break the ice with Israel and cut a deal…Bashar is unpretentious, western-educated, modern and forward-looking.

At the accession of King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, he is described by Whitaker in “A traditionalist who watches 33 TVs at once (August 2, 2005)” as a “straight-forward, down-to-earth and pious man.”

But as for the newly elected Prime Minister of the Middle East’s only true democracy, Ariel Sharon, Whitaker’s hostility is overt, He writes:

Whatever else Ehud Barak failed to achieve during his beleaguered 21-month stint as Israeli prime minister, he has, through his departure, succeeded in handing Ariel Sharon a poisoned chalice. One can scarcely imagine a more suitable person to drink it. (“Sharon has a mountain to climb,” 2/7/2001 )

Whitaker also described Sharon as “the most effective recruiting officer that Bin Laden ever had.” He writes that Sharon is portrayed as “gritting his teeth while Powell praises him for the qualities that Sharon most abhors – such as restraint.” In one of many ‘cease-fires’, Whitaker suggests that while many “hope that the cease-fire will succeed, there are also substantial numbers who would prefer it to fail – and Ariel Sharon may be one of them (Israel drives hard bargain for peace 6/11/01).” He informs readers that Sharon’s “worst nightmare” is being dragged to the negotiating table.

Whitaker accused Sharon in an article on 1/28/2002 of undermining Arafat to ensure that Hamas gained ascendancy so as to avoid ever having to negotiate. A more obvious explanation for Sharon’s refusal to deal with Arafat was his belief that Arafat could not be trusted to carry out his part.

In another instance of maligning Sharon wherever possible, Whitaker reports on the assassination of Eli Hobeika, the Lebanese Phalangist leader directly responsible for the Sabra and Shatila massacre. “Sharon case ‘strong’ despite assassination, (1/26/02).” He focuses on a possible motive being to stop Hobeika from testifying against Sharon during proceedings to indict the Prime Minister of Israel over his own alleged role in the 1982 events but skirts the issue of Hobeika’s involvement with Syria.

Brian Whitaker’s role as Middle East Editor at the influential Guardian obviously helps shape the skewed picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict provided by the paper. This failure to provide balanced coverage does a disservice to the Guardian readership and more generally to those who believe that an understanding of events, unencumbered by distortion and partisanship, is essential to defining realistic steps towards resolving the conflict.

Categories: Guardian

42 replies »

  1. Poor man. Like you-know-who in the Scottish play.

    What makes someone deform the truth so much?

  2. Whitaker displays the ability so evident in anything dealing with the ME to turn matters on their head:

    ““the stories selected by Memri for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel…””

    Look – its really simple – MEMRI doesn’t make this stuff up. If the Arab media didn’t put it out, MEMRI would be out of business.

    What did Whitaker expect them to put out – translations of Alice in Wonderland from the Arabic?

    And then, of course, there’s the good old Guardian, about which I might say, as many do:

    “the stories selected by the Guardian for publication follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Israelis or they in some way oppose the political agenda of Israel…”

  3. “The Guardian was considered highly sensitive to the plight of the Jews … But after Israel’s victories in the 1967 war much of the Left turned against the Jewish state.”

    A wee study into the use and abuse of language. The sentence starts with the emotive “plight of the Jews” then it changes to ” Israel’s victories ” and back again to” the Jewish state.”

    So the powerful and victorious force is Israel but the fragile and hunted people are the Jews. This is a deliberate and bare faced attempt to exploit the Jew /Israel dichotomy and like my giant neighbour’s pair of bloomers on her washing line ..seems dangerously transparent.

  4. The article provided by Camera in 2006 presents good examples of media bias which clearly contribute to an anti Israel agenda. In this case, the bias is unsurprisingly promoted by the Middle East Editor of the Guardian, Brian Whitaker. Ultimately, the goal is to injure the state of Israel by twisting the truth, lying, or speculating in favor of the Arab cause.

    The truth should be an important goal in journalism, but where events are sketchy, it provides an opportunity to substitute the truth with an agenda. Speculation gives the writer a way to shape events as he sees fit. With Mohammed al-Durra, doubt now exist on not only whether an Israeli shot the Arab boy, but whether the whole event was staged by Talal Abu Rahma of France 2. The al-Durra incident enraged the Palestinian Arabs and contributed to the start of the second Intifada.

    France 2 also was responsible for another lie used to promote anti Israel bias. According to Soaren Kern, Brussels Journal, Jan 17, 2009, “Anti-Semitism Sweeps Europe in Wake of Gaza Operation”:

    “…In one of the more outrageous examples of anti-Israel [European] media bias, France 2 national public television used an outdated amateur video of Palestinian casualties from an accidental truck explosion in 2005 as current footage demonstrating the violence in Gaza. The video shows dead bodies of babies being laid out on white sheets. France 2 was forced to come clean when a French political blog uncovered the trickery. (France 2 also was responsible for a September 2000 report, accused of being a fake, of the supposed shooting death of Mohammed al-Dura, a 12-year-old Palestinian boy, by the Israeli army.)…”

    It just goes to show that hatred can dangerously induce the worst kind of lying and bias journalism.

  5. Tomwonacott – good comment. I wonder how many died as a result of the faked Al Durah affair (the boy has no grave, was never found, and there are strong suspicions he his father changed his name and he is actually still alive in Gaza).

    France 2 has a lot to answer for.

  6. “But as for the newly elected Prime Minister of the Middle East’s only true democracy, Ariel Sharon, Whitaker’s hostility is overt, ”

    Another howler. Searching for some way of introducing Sharon in a semi- positive way, the author flatters him in a second hand manner referring to the prestige of his job …rather than by an assessment of his time in office.

    Earlier in his career when he served for the Middle East’s only true democracy, this same banned him from holding public office.. shamed as the Israelis were by his caustic disregard for the women slain in Lebanon.

    The author says Brian’s “hostilty is overt” i.e. bold and shameless and thus prima facie evidence of anti Semitism on CIF???? In that case many in the Middle East’s only true democracy are anti Semitic.

  7. Tom

    “It just goes to show that hatred can dangerously induce the worst kind of lying and bias journalism.”

    The truth is I have no idea about the wee boy.. you mention it could be a hoax.. it certainly is a lasting vision.. just like the girl covered in Napalm.. the Viet Cong could have been accused of planting her.

    The point is, in both cases, one side has 99% of the available violence and is pursuing policy based on this.

    There would be no dead boy if the IDF were not allowed to shoot at civilians so easily…the Palestinians would not be able to trick the IDF into firing at them ..whilst they execute the boy. Exploited though the Mohammed al-Dura affair may have been ..if the IDF were reknown for their care , rather than their savage retaliation.. we would not be discussing this.

  8. TomWonacott your analysis are always thorough and well-thought-out.

    Here is a visual account by the inimitable Prof Richard Landes of how Pallywood is used to fool the world and gain the aims and ends of the Palestinians.

  9. I wonder how many died

    Ilan Halimi was one; his blood is on the hands of Enderlin and France 2.

  10. Excellent and much-needed post Hawkeye. Here is Duvidl’s musical view:

    Down There At Cif
    (to the tune of “Down By The Riverside.” Hat tip: US Tradition)

    Brian’s gonna delete my erudite post
    Down there at Cif, down there at Cif.
    To entreaties he’s quite deaf.
    Brian will make a great post toast,
    Down there at Cif
    Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.

    Chorus: Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.
    Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.
    Brian brings bigotry to the fore.
    Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.
    Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.
    At Cif Watch we even up the score.

    Brian would delete the PM
    Down there at Cif, down there at Cif.
    Brian is much much worse than Seth.
    He’d delete Barack; all of them.
    Down there at Cif.
    Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.


    He’d delete Jesus; make him toast,
    Down there at Cif, down there at Cif.
    Brian’s editing’s always tref.
    Ban Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
    Down there at Cif.
    Ain’t gonna read that bore no more.


    DS Al Coda

  11. In 2006,CifWatch didn’t exist,so Brian Whitaker was free to write anything that he wanted,mainly falsehoods.

    Now that CiFWatch is in action,The Guardian has to watch itself very carefully.

  12. Spot on spoton. It is this very quality of monitoring sites like Cif Watch and Memri, described by Hawkeye and so heavily criticised by Brian, that makes the internet so valuable and will, in time, lead to the decline of newspapers as leading media opinion-formers.

    Since all British newspaper circulations are already in steep decline, Duvidl hopes, one day, to be able to attribute the break-up of The Guardian to the vitriolic but self-destructive agitprop of Brian Whitaker.

  13. In 2006,CifWatch didn’t exist,so Brian Whitaker was free to write anything that he wanted,mainly falsehoods.

    I posted on CIF more than once the daily statistics of MEMRI’s content showing that about a third of its headlines are showing the Arab/Muslim world in a positive light, a third are neutral and a third of them show the fanaticism and antisemitism – means that MEMRI (not like the Guardian) is really fair and balanced. Naturally all of these posts have been deleted – you can’t prove with facts that Whitaker is lying.
    (The first headline of today on MEMRI: “Senior Pakistani Sheikh Issues Fatwa Against Terrorism, Says Suicide Bombers Go To Hell, Not Paradise” – is it supposed to be negative?)

    But Whitaker did more than publishing falsehoods, he – with an unprecented move – supported the CIF bigots camp assertion that the pro-Israeli posters on CIF are paid agents of the Israeli government and/or other shadowy Jewish organisations. His intervention was absolutely off topic and clearly anti-Semite.

    He is fair and balanced exactly like Berchmans, Krustytheclown, Moeran/Ruskin and the other Jew haters of CIF.

  14. spoton

    “Now that CiFWatch is in action,The Guardian has to watch itself very carefully.”

    You would think so.. yet the sharpness is being dissipated by some posters who over egg the pudding …like..



    “But Whitaker clearly anti-Semite… Berchmans, Krustytheclown, Moeran/Ruskin and the other Jew haters of CIF.”

    Goodness me Peter you’ve had your lemon juice this morning.

  15. Goodness me Peter you’ve had your “lemon” juice this morning.

    So have you – blended it was.

  16. Hi Berchmans when do you start the mourning? Tomorrow will begin the Nakba day for you and for your friends… Don’t participate the self flagellation but don’t try to drink alcohol with your mourning gentle Islamofascist companions, they can be very easily offended and behead you…and then… end Berchmans the postman/childcare worker the communist/nationalist and the Guardian CIF’s expert of Jewish/Muslim matters.

  17. peterthehungarian


    ” Berchmans the Guardian CIF’s expert of Jewish/Muslim matters. ”


    You give me too much credit. I am an expert on narrow aspects of Scottish Residential child care legislation…on who lives in the High Street because I post their letters ..but I am only a partial expert on Jewish/Muslim matters. I can merely point out where hate impinges on reasoning but little more.

  18. “if the IDF were reknown for their care , rather than their savage retaliation.. we would not be discussing this.”

    But if the understanding you and many others have of the IDF is formed by mendacious accounts, such as this most egregious one, then you will think the soldiers savage when in truth they are amongst the most caring in the world. You will have heard, as truth, of the ‘massacre’ at Jenin and Falujah and imagined Sharon at the head of his troops laying waste Sabra and Shatillah, you might even have suckled, long ago, on the ‘depravities’ of Deir Yassin so that all in all, your interpretation of Israeli behaviour legitimises your righteous anger, whilst being in fact, wholly and utterly wrong, an embarrassing state to be in and one I would wish to avoid at all costs, but for you, the cost may be too high.

  19. Epidermoid


    ” the ‘massacre’ at Jenin

    There were about 50 dead. During the famous Glencoe ” massacre ” the Campbells are coming … etc etc “, 38 men were murdered.. either in their homes or as they tried to flee the glen.” ..( wiki) .

    It was indeed a massacre…just not the thousands at first proclaimed. The IDF are no worse and no better than any state of the art troops ordered to minimise their own casualties for internal political reasons by blowing the 5H1T out of anything that moves.

    You mention Fallujah…just the same ..use technology to splat anything that moves. Cowards to a man.

    You are wrong about Deir Yassin… knowledge of this is recent for me. I guessed all along both sides would use their version of the truth to their advantage and I also guessed the real answer would be somewhere in the middle.

  20. Whitaker is an Arabophile and has internalised all the characteristics of the “hidden hand” conspiracy rubbish so beloved of Arabs/Muslims who cannot accept either that they themselves, or their behaviour, might have brought about the state of affairs they are whingeing about and therefore blame everyone else but themselves for them. It seems to me to be a very immature and primitive attribution of cause and effect and it beggars belief that so many so-called intelligent people (not you, Dopey) fall for it time after time.

    Abandon hope – why are you so obsessed with numbers rather than the fact that the Jenin “massacre” was no such thing and yet al-Grauniad and the western media ran with it nevertheless?

    And you are becoming boring.

    Try beating a different drum for a change, do us all a favour.

  21. SarahLeah

    “– why are you so obsessed with numbers rather than the fact that the Jenin “massacre” was no such thing ”

    I was pointing out that the most famous Scottish “massacre” had many less deaths and the Peterloo ” massacre ” had only 11. You are trying to whitewash the use of extremes of force.

    “obsessed …boring.”

    I would like to try insulting more….I would do this for sure.. but I havent run out of argument yet.

  22. As I said, Dope, you are obsessed with the (too few) numbers of dead at the hands of the IDF. Perhaps you would be more satisfied if there had indeed been a massacre in Jenin of the proportions lied about? You could then have been filled with “righteous” indignation about IDF “mindless violence.”

    Your very presence here, given the drivel you spout on CiF, is insulting enough.

    Read the history of the Jenin engagement. Set it alongside what we all know is the Palestinian/Arab propensity to exaggerate and lie about casualties in order to play to their useful idiots like you.

    Give us some sign that you have taken all this in and reflected on it. Then you may be worth discussing things with.

  23. Your extreme ignorance and stupidity again Berchmans. In Jenin 23 IDF soldiers died exactly because they didn’t want to cause collateral damage and entered to the terror compound without air and artillery bombardement. 50 terrorist vs 23 IDF casualties. This can be called “massacre” only by Whitaker, you and the similar assorted anti-Semites on CIF. If this was a massacre then how would you call any skirmish in any war where there were some casualties?
    Go and have a very sad Nakba day!

  24. Great find Hawkeye.

    Really puts the finger on Whitaker.

    MEMRI is partisan.

    But one cannot argue with the videos and sound recordings translated to an understandable language to the ‘reader’. Or at least, there may be room for argument as to a specific translation but when the content is quite clear, the picture of consistent Muslim duplicity on Israel and Antisemitism becomes overwhelmingly clear. Apart from duplicity on the Muslim approach to ‘The West’ and ‘Western Liberal Democracy’.

    A really great find.

    I think that in the UK, they would call Whitaker an ‘Arabist’. As in “Foreign Office Arabist”.

  25. peterthehungarian

    This( Jenin) can be called “massacre” only by Whitaker, you and the similar assorted anti-Semites on CIF. ”

    I was simply saying that much much more famous ” massacres” had far fewer deaths. It was Epidermoid who brought up the massacre..I was minding my own business. Talk about sore winners.

  26. Jenin and the Al Dura cases were high points of Pallywood that almost certainly led to further deaths, and those ‘journalists’ as well as UN officials who carelessly and negligently spoke out to agree that thousand had been killed in Jenin are responsible for those deaths.

    Those news reports set the Middle East alight and the cynical manipulation of the Arab ‘street’, just as the Danish cartoons, led to innocent lives being lost.

    At the time of Jenin, the first news reports spoke of 3,000 deaths, subsequently reduced to 500 and by then, the numbers didn’t matter, it was an Israeli atrocity. The al Dura case where a young boy and his father were pinned down in cross fire and the boy subsequently shot, seemed to be a horror story for the Arab street, manufactured it seems by France 2 and Charles Enderlin, the French reporter who was not even on the scene but used an Arab cameraman’s footage, edited to make his story. A

    Groucho Marx once said in a film, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” The trouble is, we rely on an objective reporting from journalists who can be balanced and truthful in their reporting. When as here, we have partial, partisan, unballanced and downright dishonest reporting, our view of the world is skewed dangerously.

  27. cityca

    “Jenin, 3,000 deaths, subsequently reduced to 500 and by then, the numbers didn’t matter, it was an Israeli atrocity. ”

    Agreed it was a battle ..about 40 Palestinians and about 20 IDF people died. So why do posters like Epidermoid keep calling it a massacre …he is not alone.. I had been accused of overblowing it even before I knew where Jenin even was.

    If local people lie about the IDF that so bad? They are not the ones doing the killing…all the fuss here is over the description of the battle…nobody has questioned why the IDF can go about killing 40 folk without raising eyebrows.

  28. “the influential Guardian obviously helps shape the skewed picture of the Arab-Israeli conflict”

    As the Labor Party goes, so goes the Guardian. The publication’s political clout in Britain will take a steep dive as soon as David Cameron moves to 10
    Downing Street.

    By the way, I like Tony Blair a great deal. The man is a straight shooter.

  29. Abandon: “I can merely point out where hate impinges on reasoning but little more”.

    If this were the case, perhaps you would be more vigorous in your critique of the Hamas charter, or more robust in your condemnation of Hamas prisoners being burned alive.

  30. “It was indeed a massacre…”

    And in that gratuitous aside is confirmation that, at heart, you are indeed an anti Semite, one of a long line that snakes through history, proudly declaring their corruption as they plan disaster forJews. A massacre implies the deliberate casting aside of common humanity so that the defenceless are cut down as they surrender, the innocent deliberately targeted, and babies and children hacked to pieces till the killers drip with the blood of their victims. You have accused the IDF of behaving in this way, and so call upon your unrepentant head the sinful burden of the blood libel, for which you should be ashamed as never before, but for which you will be quietly pleased and so, doubly condemned.

  31. ‘If local people lie about the IDF that so bad? They are not the ones doing the killing…all the fuss here is over the description of the battle…nobody has questioned why the IDF can go about killing 40 folk without raising eyebrows’

    Proof that antisemitism is a deficiency of intelligence as much as malice.

  32. This issue, Berchmans, is that The Guardian picked up the story without question. OK, it admitted it got it wrong. But the lying of the locals is not the point. That The Guardian took them at their word is.

  33. Brain Whitaker has written a few books,and one of them is called,’What’s “really”wrong with the Middle East’

    You might as well write a book titled “What’s ‘really’ wrong with Brain Whitaker”.It would have to be a very short book with just a few sentences,because we already know exactly what’s wrong with Brain Whitaker.

    And we could add who gives a shit what’s “really” wrong with Brain Whitaker.

  34. MEMRI on the battle of Jenin — since Brian Whitaker wrote that “the nature” of the battle in Jenin mattered so much, it would have been very good if he read it to understand what “the nature” of this battle really was.

    Just one short passage:

    The Egyptian government-sponsored Al-Ahram Weekly ran an interview with “Omar,” a young, one-armed Islamic Jihad bomb maker known as an ‘engineer’ who discussed how the Palestinians booby-trapped Jenin, including the participation of women and children in the battles.[11] “He is a member of the Islamic Jihad, but says in Jenin all the factions were loyal to only one cause: liberation or death…’ Of all the fighters in the West Bank we were the best prepared,’ he says. ‘We started working on our plan: to trap the invading soldiers and blow them up from the moment the Israeli tanks pulled out of Jenin last month.'”

  35. Sababa your quotation is new to me and should cast a light for doubters on what happened in Cast Lead.
    The ambush and booby-trap method of fighting the IDF is characteristic of the terrorists.

    I choose that description of them deliberately since the traps for the Israelis are set cynically among their own civilians whose deaths they count in their propaganda campaign against us. (The phrase ”egging two puddings” comes to mind.)

  36. Epidermoid

    “It was indeed a massacre…”And in that gratuitous aside is confirmation that, at heart, you are indeed an anti Semite, ”

    Over 60 people died.. oh Sherlock of CIFWatch.. including 23 Israelis.Is 23 deaths not a massacre? …The Peterloo massacre had 11 deaths my Muslim hating pal.

  37. English is a fairly precise language and to confuse the concepts of massacre and battle is to show how confused your own thinking is and to do a disservice to the language.

    A massacre is an indiscriminate and deliberately callous killing.