Guardian

Despite the catastrophic fire in Israel, the Guardian’s demonization of the Jewish state proceeds as usual


A Guest Post by AKUS and Israelinurse

The fire raging on the Carmel has caught the world’s attention, and has made headlines in print and on TV.

The Guardian’s vicious anti-Israeli bias has rarely been better demonstrated than in the report by Haroon Siddique, filing from London (Forest fire kills 40 in Israel).

As Backseatblogger pointed out:

The Guardian has only published one story written by Haroon Siddique. That story appeared on December 2nd.  There has been nothing since. The fires are still spreading and are now approaching the University of Haifa.

Originally his story stated that 40 prison guards were killed fleeing the fire. (i.e. insinuating that the guards had left their prisoners to die).

Now that story has been ‘corrected’ to read as follows:

A forest fire in northern Israel killed about 40 people today. Authorities cleared the Carmel Forest area of hundreds of people, including some 500 Palestinian inmates from the Damon prison, after the fire broke out early today. The bus was carrying some 50 prison guards when it flipped over and got caught in the flames.

But this is still not the whole story, despite a rare admission of a correction from the Guardian, which, however, managed to omit the reason the correction was required:

This article was amended on 3 December 2010. The original, reflecting information then available, referred to the bus evacuating prison guards from blaze in Carmel mountains (sic). This has been corrected

(Note to the Guardian – the world, generally speaking, refers to the area as Mount Carmel, as it has been known for approximately 2,500 years, despite anything the Palestinian Authority might have to say on the matter).

In fact, it appears that the article was “corrected” once again, with the addition of a link to Ha’aretz and a change of subheader:

Authorities cleared the Carmel Forest area of hundreds of people, including some 500 Palestinian inmates from the Damon prison, after the fire broke out early today. The bus was carrying some 50 prison guards when it flipped over and got caught in the flames, according to Haaretz.

According to JustJournalism, the  original subheader (“standfirst” in journalese) of Siddique’s article  read:

the bus was ‘evacuating prison guards from blaze’

And that was corrected too, to read:

Many of the dead were killed when bus taking prison guards to rescue Palestinian inmates from blaze in Carmel mountains went up in flames, say rescuers

The Guardian still could not bring itself to reveal in the body of the article why the prison guards were in the bus heading into the flames. For that, you would have to go to the link to the article in Ha’aretz, which the Guardian chose not to cite in full:

Most of the dead from the blaze were students on the Prison Service’s guards’ course on their way to the Damon jail to help evacuate inmates there.

When a fallen tree blocked a road, their bus was trapped in the flames, killing 40 of 50 passengers. Seven survivors were left in critical condition and evacuated to Haifa hospitals.

The Guardian was seemingly unable to tell its readers that that 40 Israelis died trying to get to a prison filled with terrorists in an attempt to save them from the flames.

Meanwhile, the Guardian continues to cover the fire in Israel with anyone but Harriet Sherwood, their Israel reporter. Sherwood, who has never missed an opportunity to rush from one corner of Israel to the next to dig up whatever negative news she can find, has been unable to make her way to Haifa. Apparently, she is too busy in Sharm el Sheikh reporting about sharks. Stranger yet, but rather typical for Sherwood’s “I never saw an article I wouldn’t copy” style of journalism, the Guardian ran about the shark attacks two days earlier by Jack Shenker in Cairo.

Curiously, it turns out that the story she filed on December 2nd about three Arabs facing discrimination in Tzfat, something she has never noticed happening to Jews in Sinai, had been held in the hopper by the editorial staff, according to JustJournalism:

An article by Sherwood, titled, ‘Denounced as a traitor: the Holocaust survivor who rents rooms to Israeli-Arabs,’ apparently filed a week ago with The Guardian, was published online yesterday at 16.09, when news of the fire was dominating the news in Israel.

Could the curious timing of the story have been due to a desire to distract attention from the tragedy unfolding near Haifa? Does this also indicate that the Guardian keeps a reserve of negative articles about Israel to post whenever it’s a slow news day, or for days when something happens that may turn the world’s attention to Israel in a sympathetic manner? Sherwood’s feeble excuse that she was “on assignment” in Egypt is ludicrous – this is a woman who has managed to post articles from one corner of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank day after day, but was unable to take a short flight back to Tel Aviv and a one hour drive to Haifa to report on the fire

In another example, lest too much sympathy be built up for the victims of the fire, or Israel, the Guardian makes sure to highlight the need to boycott Israeli products – Yvette Cooper calls for Israeli settler labelling on food imports. Cooper is the Labour Party shadow foreign secretary. Let’s hope this heartless wretch stays in the shadows.

The Guardian also seized on a picture showing the devastation of the beautiful artists’ village of Ein Hod to provide some tips for photographers:

Pro tip: By taking a higher viewpoint and using a large depth of field, more details of the destruction are seen in the composition

What could be more satisfactory for Alan Rusbridger’s minions than teaching aspiring photographers how to photograph a disaster in Israel?

11 replies »

  1. Harriet Sherwood,

    On an off chance that you read CIFWatch, I’ll say this.

    You’re a disgrace to all civlized journalists. Pack your bags and go home. Your presence in Israel pollutes the country. Just don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  2. What do you expect the Guardian to do – say nice things all of a sudden, about Israel? A country they’ve been taught to regard as the new apartheid South Africa, the source of all the Middle East’s problems and worse? They simply don’t listen when we refute their arguments because it would mean their having to admit they were wrong all along. That’s cognitive dissonance, as you are so fond of repeating. So when Israel elicits sympathy and international aid because of this devastating fire, the Guardian and its ilk will naturally keep very quiet indeed or at least try to twist the facts to its own advantage.

    Why blame our enemies for being true to form? They’re our enemies, no more, no less. Getting angry with them is a waste of energy.
    Don’t get angry, get even.

    There are many ways of keeping quiet. There is the embarrassed silence, the envious silence, the resentful silence, the gloating silence, the disdainful silence or else the indifferent silence, and so on. The fine art of reading between the lines is a very imperfect science…

  3. This article is a joke ! Has anyone monitored how the Guardian corrects and updates articles in general ? The original article was written in London by Haroon Siddique and then corrected when the errors became apparent. So what ! Have you also compared the extent of coverage by other newspapers ? My impression was that in general it was not a major story in American and British newpapers so the Guardian coverage was about average (correct me if I’m wrong).

    You complain when the Guardian devotes too much space to Israel and you complain when it devotes too little. Get a life !

  4. MTC Aristotle said that you should be consistent even in being inconsistent.

    The Guardian reacts every time a sparrow farts in Israel, or every time a chicken poops. The Marmara incident gave them material for 32 articles. Draft bills that never come to fruition often give them a few excuses for articles each, attacked from this angle and from that. A huge fire that could have consumed the country or left it prey to its waiting enemies and that without overseas assistance would have been within hours of Haifa docks and the refinery and an explosion that would have shaken the Med almost went without remark.

    There is much material there for comment and if you still don’t see it then get an imagination.

  5. Germolene:

    “A huge fire that could have consumed the country or left it prey to its waiting enemies and that without overseas assistance would have been within hours of Haifa docks and the refinery and an explosion that would have shaken the Med almost went without remark.”

    lol. I assume that you have never been to Haifa.

  6. MindTheCrap

    You complain when the Guardian devotes too much space to Israel and you complain when it devotes too little. Get a life !

    I complain when the Guardian obsesses on negatives in Israel and only Israel. I obsess when The Guardian writes sloppily on a tragedy in Israel almost implying that the Prison Officers were leaving the burning area rather than entering a dangerous area to evacuate Palestinian prisoners. I object when their ‘Dearist Harriet’ is holidaying in Sinai when a tragedy is happening in Israel. If a similar thing had happened to Palestinians in Gaza and 37 were burnt alive, something tells me that she would be all over it even cancelling her sunny holiday to rush to Gaza to look for angles to disparage Israel.

  7. JerusalemMite:

    “The Guardian writes sloppily on a tragedy in Israel almost implying that the Prison Officers were leaving the burning area rather than entering a dangerous area to evacuate Palestinian prisoners.”

    Yes, and even the Guardian realised that it was sloppy, biased reporting; it corrected the article and admitted the errors.

    I also don’t see where it was mentioned in the original article that there were Palestinian prisoners in Damoun Prison; why would Guardian readers infer it and why would they infer that prisoners of any sort were abandoned ? “Backstreetblogger” has totally exaggerated his criticism and AKUS & IN have swallowed it whole.

    There is much to criticize in what appears in the Guardian and CiF (I assume that you have seen many of my 97 pages of critical comments), but this criticism in pathetically childish.

  8. the Guardian’s demonization of the Jewish state proceeds as usual

    How so?

    What could be more satisfactory for Alan Rusbridger’s minions than teaching aspiring photographers how to photograph a disaster in Israel?

    There was a similar “pro tip” accompanying the photo of the young West Bank boy getting hit by the car.
    But these images are part of a series.

    Here’s another example:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/picture/2010/nov/27/rio-violence-brazil

    @ MindTheCrap re. your last paragraph

    Ditto.

  9. Pretz, MTC I have to agree with you to some extent.

    I feel disappoionted by the guardian, but that is on a personal level, since the galilee is my home and I have friends living in Haifa and family in the Krayot.

    I am very disapointed for I saw no reason why they shouldn’t report it.
    Never the less, this is their choice to make.
    If they feel that Katar’s securing of the football world cup is more important so be it.

    What upseted me today was the Metro’s reporting which noted only the Palestinian firemen’s assistance rather than the entire list of countries which helped.

    And I don’t want to take anything away from the Palestinian, Jordanian, Turkish or Egyptian fire men which came to our help.

    Each and every one is applauded by me.