Guardian selective empathy watch (and the Arab “Fall”)

A guest post by AKUS

Adam Levick has already taken the Guardian to task over its ridiculous and malicious report in his article:  Guardian levels false allegations at Israel over the use of white phosphorus. The Guardian’s article was a clear attempt to insinuate that Israel deliberately left a canister of what is presumed to be phosphorus (without any proof, mind you) in area where little Arab shepherds peacefully wander in order to burn holes in them. As usual, the Palestinians immediately claimed yet another “violation of human rights”, a useful portmanteau claim that covers just about anything they object to – except, for example, suicide bombing or firing rockets into Israeli towns.

This time, the smear was written by Conal Urquhart, yet another of the multitude of inky-fingered hacks the Guardian keeps on staff who, one and all, consider themselves to be experts on matters Israeli and Palestinian. It is amazing how Urquhart just happened to be in the utterly unknown village of Buweib where this latest example of Israeli crimes against humanity took place. Apparently the utterly vacuous Guardian “woman on the spot”  Harriet Sherwood was too busy to get around to it while  trying to find Lifta on a map, but no doubt a Palestinian “fixer” made sure that the Guardian would get the scoop. All that is missing is an editorial demanding that Israel be brought before the ICC. Nowhere does the article point out that little boys shouldn’t play with strange things they find in the field.

What else was going on while little Eid Da’ajani, 15, was trying to see what was in the mysterious canister? His friend, Mohammed Yusuf, apparently knew better and did not touch it – but that is not a story of Israeli malfeasance. Was there anything that perhaps Mr. Urquhart should have focused on instead? Was there anything more important than a 15-year-old playing with unexploded munitions?

Well, how about Assad’s troop s in Hama shooting 130 dead  in the street, and wounding another 300 – or, most recently, Syrian military snipers firing volleys of bullets at a funeral procession for six protesters who were killed on Friday when a large protest demanding democracy came under fire? 

Or is it too dangerous for the intrepid Mr. Urquhart to report on matters more than  30 minutes from the bar at the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem, protected by Israeli security while his spins his malicious articles? The Guardian did run a report about Hama, in fact, but it was an AP report filed in Beirut, and only claimed 34 killed. (I keep wondering when Assad will copy his father and gas a few tens of thousands of his own citizens. Will the Guardian find space for this rather than another sob-story condemning Israel?)

Compare this relative silence about the ongoing massacre that must now have reached several thousands of Syrians with the outrageous reporting the Guardian did on the “Jenin massacre” that never happened, where any hack who knew how to find the keys on a typewriter was commissioned to vastly exaggerate the number of dead. Compare the paucity of coverage from Syria with the over the top reporting from the Mavi Maramara affair or the ongoing efforts by Assad to to incite Syrians to storm Israel’s borders. This silence amounts to a whitewash when compared with the incessant reporting about any and every event concerning Israel.

The Guardian is justifiably concerned with the events in Yemen – by the time this is published, Yemen’s President Saleh may be dead – but barely has a word to say about Afghanistan, where the British military is bombing and strafing with gay abandon, no doubt using a little phosphorus made by BAE Systems for the British army. In addition to the thousands already killed in Libya where British troops are busy playing with their toys and killing Libyans by the dozen, 250 refugees drowned trying to flee Libya – but the Guardian can barely find place for more than two articles about this.

An even better example of the Guardian’s attempt to white-wash Arab atrocities is the highly selective reporting from Egypt. Yes, there were some women forced to undergo some kind of vile virginity test. Shocking indeed, though even Mona Eltahawy has to admit that it is pretty much par for the course among the indignities Arab women face. Yes, Egyptians are upset about a Vodaphone add that apparently claims some role in the “Arab Spring” (good thing it has no cartoons of Mohammed). But the big story, which it is resolutely missing, is that the threats of execution of the Mubaraks and others, gleefully applauded by a string of Guardian hacks like Eltahawy, are one of the principal drivers of ferocious repression by other leaders. After all, if the rule is “them or me”, when “me” is Assad, or Saleh, or King Abdullah and others, it is pretty obvious what the choice will be.

But the biggest cover-up that the Guardian is engaged in, given its earlier cheer-leading for the “Arab Spring”, is that the arrests and future trials – and, quite possibly, executions – of Egyptian leaders, be they as corrupt as they may, has engendered a flight from Egypt of the very people who held that fragile economy together and a huge decline in the economy as foreign investor pull out. See the excellent report by David Shenker in the LA Times: Egypt and the Arab fall.

As Shenker points out, the “Arab Spring” has become the “Arab Fall” without even a summer in between. All we need now is for another Guardian favorite, Ghannoushi, with cheer-leading provided on the Guardian’s website by Islamic fundamentalist daughter and frequent Guardian contributor Soumaya to win the election in Tunisia next month and turn the clock back to the “triumph” of the Iranian Mullahs. But the Guardian either keeps quiet, or lets Soumaya spin the usual untruths about her father’s intentions.

So what’s next for the Guardian to keep us busy pondering the evil that is Israel? Perhaps another story about the ill-treatment of chickens? Something about a shortage of Israeli biscuits in Ramallah as an attempt to starve the PA? Another story about an Israeli politician who has no influence talking about something he should not be? How lucky people like Sherwood, Urquhart etc. are to sit in comfort at the American Colony, and share the news from the stream of Arab fixers that pour through, rather than toughing it out in the mountains of Afghanistan or the bombed out shell of Tripoli where the Guardian’s countrymen are inflicting death and destruction a hundred time worse than Cast Lead.

Israel – home of the freest press, by far, in the Middle East, and subsequently has claim to the highest concentration of foreign journalists in the world – is, for reporters like Urquhart and Sherwood, the gift that keeps on giving. 

14 replies »

  1. AKUS you are confusing Harriet Sherwood with a real journalist. She is a political activist no more and no less as its very clear from her “reports” and her screaming about the JC article on her colleague Arrigoni. Seems to me that the Guardian dire financial situation doesn’t allow it to pay for professionals, they are pressed to use volunteer anti-Jewish propagandists like her and Urquhart., and they got what they paid for.

  2. MTC – I agree with (most of) what is in those two articles – but neither talks about Jerusalem. Out of interest, do you think it is possible to divide Jerusalem again?

    • Everything is possible – with creative goodwill and a willingness to compromise on BOTH sides.

      Now read the articles again 🙂

  3. but no doubt a Palestinian “fixer” made sure that the Guardian would get the scoop.

    Isn’t that exactly the kind of loaded language this website highlights and counters when it comes to claims about Jewish/Israeli “influence” on the media?

    • .. and just about as relevant. Of course when one is only interested in avoiding the real issues ……

  4. Dear subscribers.

    Please do not use the term Palestinians to identify the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria. They are not Palestinians. There is no such nation. It was Hadrian in the year 135 CE who changed the name of Israel and Judea to Provinkia Palestina in order to erase the memory of the Jews after the Bar Kochba Revolt in 132 CE. The Jews never left the Holy Land, those who escaped the massacre of the Roman army hid in Galilee, Golan (Huran) and southern Judea. This is way before the Arab conquest of the Holy Land in 638 CE. So if anyone can be called Palestinians it is those who remained alive after 135 CE and their decedents.

    • Wow ! Why don’t you get a job as a speech writer for Bibi ?? This is exactly what he should have said in Congress ! No doubt they would still be applauding !!

      • Would you agree to “West Bankers” or “West Bank Arabs” – and, of course, the widely accepted “Gazans”?