Careless Talk Really Does Cost Lives

Last night the Israeli media began reporting on the findings of the IDF investigation into the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma of Bil’in almost three weeks ago.

Readers will no doubt remember that the Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood was quick to jump on a rather overcrowded bandwagon which unquestioningly regurgitated the unproven claims by the Abu Rahma family, their supporters, and officials right at the top of the Palestinian Authority that Jawaher had been killed by CS gas used to disperse a violent demonstration. In addition, Sherwood took advantage of the opportunity in order to resurrect the decade-old Al Dura hoax on the pages of CiF, implying – in the spirit of a long held Guardian tradition – that here was yet another ‘martyr’ victim of Israeli atrocity.

The IDF investigation indicates that Jawaher Abu Rahma died as a result of medical malpractice: for some reason she was apparently given unusually large doses of the drug Atropine. What is not yet clear is why mistakes were made by the staff at the Ramallah Medical Complex in administering the drug, or why that drug was chosen as treatment for her symptoms.

One possibility is that, as ‘Elder of Ziyon’ very plausibly suggests, she could have ingested a pesticide or chemical fertilizer for which Atropine (in the right dosage) is the antidote. If that is the case, then obviously the underlying cause of her illness would have been known from the outset both to medical staff and family, which means that an awful lot of people – including doctors – were lying with regard to the cause of her death.

Another possibility is that for some reason the doctors, whilst making their diagnosis, chose to rely upon the anecdote reported by the family. Those of us who watched Israeli television at the time will remember the wild claims made by a family member interviewed outside the hospital that Jawaher had been injured by a phosphorous-based nerve gas used by the army. Atropine (again, in the correct dosage) is also the antidote to this kind of chemical weapon. Of course the IDF does not in any circumstances use nerve gas of any kind, but in an atmosphere such as the one cultivated in this region by various interested parties – including the foreign media – it is common practice for some to believe the very worst, no matter how fantastic, about the IDF without the need for fact-based evidence.

The irresponsible repetition and propagation of rumours such as the Al Dura hoax or the so-called ‘Jenin massacre’ by journalists who long since abandoned their professional ethical requirement to check facts before putting finger to keyboard contributed not only to the defamation of Israel, but also to waves of actual violence which cost Israeli lives.  In the case of the unfortunate Jawaher Abu Rahma, it may well be that a climate of hysteria and illogical assumptions which have no basis in facts or truth contributed to her death.

The mainstream media, including the copious numbers of foreign correspondents based here in Israel, have played an important role in helping to create this dangerous climate, particularly over the past decade or so. Eager to believe, and repeat, almost any story which paints Israel in a bad light, and anxious to get hits for their websites by offering up the most sensational headlines, they often blindly and cynically regurgitate information provided to them by unreliable sources. Deliberately or not, they contribute substantially to creating and sustaining the atmosphere of incitement which rules supreme in some parts of this region and often costs lives.

The need for journalists to start recognising and taking responsibility for their role in the incitement which ultimately contributes to the violence in this region is long overdue.   One small step for media-kind would be for Harriet Sherwood and her editors to swiftly publish a prominent retraction of their claims and insinuations regarding the IDF’s responsibility for Jawaher Abu Rahma’s death. They should also publically apologise for printing the ridiculous statement made at the time by Saeb Erekat to the effect that the incident constituted a ‘war crime’.

Should the Guardian fail to take these necessary steps, questions as to whether their complicity in fostering an atmosphere of anti-Israeli incitement is deliberate or not will have been answered once and for all.

Categories: Guardian

Tagged as: , ,

12 replies »

  1. as I told at EoZ I mistook grandpa’s Belladonna (atropin) tablets in about 1945/1946 for candies and was lucky to get my stomach emptied in time.

    So maybe “they” have the stuff available as a household remedy against feeling ill after poisoning their fields and nobody told the hospital that she had already taken some which led them to overdose.

  2. I just remembered once upon a time Belladonna was in fashion with women who wanted their eyes to look more enticing (Belladonna) – I think it enlarges the pupil which in turn may be taken as a signal that the woman is interested in “him”.

  3. “I just remembered once upon a time Belladonna was in fashion with women”

    It might also prove useful to certain Guardian journalists:

    “In the past, it was believed that witches used a mixture of belladonna, opium poppy, and other plants, typically poisonous (such as monkshood and poison hemlock) in flying ointment they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches.”

  4. Hoi Polloi

    I hope you are not trying to imply that Guardian journalists are such hopeless cases mating-wise that normal beauty-enhancement idiocy is not enough for them any longer and they have to resort to the dark arts.

    In this context Elder of Ziyon recently posted a fatwa or something like that were it was decreed that women clad short of the Burqa should cover their eyes with sun-glasses to avoid enticing men – now imagine what Belladonna might be able to do to those poor helpless males.

  5. Wiliam calls himself smart but believes in the existence of the flying spaghetti monster.

    William your kind blew it this time around, admit defeat and move on, slanderers that you are

  6. does it really matter?

    the arabs got their story out first

    the jew/israel haters will believe what they want…no matter what the facts are

  7. yes that’s the problem – I at least can think up a huge pile of lies in no time whatsoever. All it takes is a vivid imagination and reading a thriller every now and then.

    to come up with the truth or even probable facts takes time and doesn’t interest the William Smarts of this world not one iota. Maybe one should hope that in an hour of need he meets a helper who is as resistant to facts as he is.

  8. I suffer from migraine headaches, and am old enough to have tried all sorts of treatments for them. One prescription I had for years was called “Belladonna spacetabs,” which contained a small amount of belladonna among its other ingredients. (Did it work? No better than anything else, actually.) You can probably find belladonna in a lot of homes.

    Silke, it is my considered opinion that not even the dark arts will suffice in finding romantic partners for the benighted members of the Guardian staff. I think that large amounts of cash and sustained begging are called for, and disappointment probably triumphs more often than not. (Would YOU go out with any of them?)

  9. IsraeliNurse – I expect, as in the past, we will never see a retraction or apology from the Guardian for its role in spreading the lie.

    Sherwood made a typically passing comment in one of her recent articles which was clearly intended to show that she does not believe the IDF’s response, even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

    The Guardian has played, and continues to play, a major role in inflaming this issue by providing English-language coverage to Pallywood productions like this one.

  10. Israelinurse asks whether or not the Guardian’s complicity in fostering an atmosphere of anti-Israeli incitement deliberate.

    Well we already know the answer to that question.

    It is deliberate and systematic. The Guardian has never shown the slightest intention of retracting, or apologizing for, the lies it prints about Israel.