Guardian spices up coverage of MENA riots with incitement against Israelis and Jews.

The Guardian’s coverage of the riots and attacks on American and other Western diplomatic missions , as well as other targets, currently taking place throughout the Middle East and North Africa began on Tuesday, September 11th, with a video (sourced from Reuters) of what it termed ‘protestors’ at the US embassy in Cairo. 

At 23:30 BST that night the Guardian published an article by Associated Press in Cairo on the events at the US embassy which also included the same video and raised the subject of the film supposedly responsible for triggering the riots. On Wednesday September 12th, the Guardian published another video, this time of the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya in which, it later emerged, Ambassador Stevens and other US citizens were killed. The video’s strap-line declared that: 

“The violence is in response to an unspecified American film protesters say is blasphemous”

By 11:09 am BST, the Guardian had gone from “unspecified American film” to declaring – in an article by AP – that the film’s director was Israeli. 

Interestingly, here in the Middle East itself, there were no reports at that time of Israeli involvement in the making of the film: that notion appears to have been generated in the West, solely on the basis of the anonymous AP report, although the theme was later adopted by interested parties.  

By Wednesday morning US time, (roughly three hours after the publication of the Guardian article) the Wall Street Journal – which had originally run the AP story suggesting Israeli involvement – was backtracking

“On Wednesday, a records search turned up no references to any men in the U.S. by the name Sam Bacile. Israeli officials said they haven’t found any records of an Israeli by that name. The Journal was unable to reach the telephone number again and as of Wednesday, it had been disconnected.

The cellphone number used Tuesday was registered to a user at a home in Cerritos, Calif., where one of the residents was listed in public records as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula.”

By this time, other media outlets too had realized that the supposed Israeli connection to the film was a hoax. Even Al Jazeera had managed to get the story straight by early Wednesday morning. 

” “Bacile” is now reportedly in hiding, even though reports suggest that the name is merely cover for a larger group, or a pseudonym for someone who may be neither Israeli nor Jewish – but who cited such an identify to inflame tensions.”

By Thursday, it was quite clear that there was no Israeli involvement whatsoever in the making of the film. 

However, that inflammatory – and untrue – headline still stands at the Guardian – appearing, among other places, under the ‘Islam’ category in its ‘World News’ section. 

Later on Wednesday, at 15:10 BST, the Guardian published another article by Caroline Davies, which repeated the same – and by then, obviously untrue – information regarding the film-maker’s supposed nationality.

At 15:35 BST, Julian Borger weighed in – also promoting the unproven involvement of “100 unnamed Jewish donors” in the making of the film and claiming that “Bacile still insisted that the movie would help Israel”. 

At 16:55 BST on Wednesday, Glenn Greenwald joined the fray, also pushing the already discredited Israeli angle of the story. Two days later, an editor’s note was added to his article. 

“Editor’s note: this article was amended on 14 September. The original stated that the producer of the film was Sam Bacile, an Israeli real estate developer living in California and that he had made the film with the help of 100 Jewish donors. This assertion was based on an Associated Press report that was published in Haaretz”. 

At 20:00 BST on Wednesday, Julian Borger was back with a rehashed version of his earlier piece which still contained unnecessary speculations about Israeli and Jewish involvement in the making of the film. That piece is also still featured as “Top Story” on several of the Guardian’s ‘World News’ pages. 

At 20:23 BST, the Guardian published an article by Rory Carroll, which was still pushing the “100 Jewish donors” line:

“Bacile wrote and directed the film purportedly with $5m (£3m) donated by 100 unnamed Jewish backers. The goal was to show “Islam is a cancer”, he told the Wall Street Journal.”

At 17:00 BST on Thursday, September 13th – well over 24 hours after the ‘Israeli connection’ to the film had been debunked – the Guardian rolled out veteran anti-Israel agitator Max Blumenthal (no stranger to online incendiary films himself) who, despite the fact that the story clearly lacked legs, wrote the following: (emphasis added)

“Bacile told the Associated Press that he was a Jewish Israeli real estate developer living in California. He said that he raised $5m for the production of the film from “100 Jewish donors”, an unusual claim echoing Protocols of the Elders of Zion-style fantasies. Unfortunately, the extensive history of Israeli and ultra-Zionist funding and promotion of Islamophobic propaganda in the United States provided Bacile’s remarkable statement with the ring of truth.

Only at 18:44 BST on Thursday, September 13th did the Guardian begin to set the record straight with an article by Rory Carroll. But by that time, of course, millions of Guardian readers had been spoon-fed with 31 hours-worth of defamatory untruths. 

There are several things which are deeply disturbing about the Guardian’s behavior on this story. One is the emphasis it has put on 14 minutes of puerile, badly produced hate speech as the ‘reason’ for the mass ‘rent a mob’ rioting throughout the Middle East and North Africa. That emphasis is particularly misguided and misleading in light of the fact that the attacks on the US missions in Cairo and Benghazi appear to have been pre-planned to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. 

No less disturbing is the Guardian’s promotion of fictitious Israeli and Jewish involvement in the production of the film. Not only did the Guardian obviously fail completely to fact check the AP report it originally published, but even when the unreliability of that report came to light, it continued to push that version of the story because it dovetailed with the Guardian’s own existing prejudices. 

If the West should have learned anything over the past few days, it is that rumour – however ridiculous and unfounded – can be a very dangerous and even lethal thing in this part of the world. Whilst some people at the Guardian may find it useful or amusing to promote unsubstantiated rumours which they have clearly not bothered to fact-check, that is not the type of reckless incitement one expects from a responsible, respectable or serious mainstream media outlet. 

The Guardian must therefore promptly issue a prominent correction on each and every one of those articles citing, referring to or inspired by the irresponsible AP report, making it very clear that its reports were misleading, unfounded and untruthful. 

If it has the necessary conscience and guts, the Guardian will also admit to gross professional negligence.

39 replies »

    • The “100 jewish financial backers” was a total lie but the story of the “dancing Israelis” – a group of dumb Israelis who rejoiced publicly in new York after the collapse of the World trade Center and have not apologized to this day – is genuine.

      ABC News broadcasted a story on it during prime time:

      • Gee, Gnat, somehow I’m not surprised my comment would generate heat from your tin foil hat. 5 Dancing Israelis is now, and has always been, a made up attempt to justify the belief that Israelis (and Jews) were happy about the WTC attacks.

        But look who I’m trying to reason with! Hatemongers like you are jokes and cowards. Your brain would implode if you couldn’t dish your bs on the internet.

        I do like how you rec your own posts….. 5 stars? Really?

        You’re a laugh riot, Gnatty.

  1. “If it has the necessary conscience and guts, the Guardian will also admit to gross professional negligence.”

    A nice thought, but you may see pigs fly before that happens.

      • I used to think that the Guardian types were just pathetic but harmless antiSemitic assholes, since no one i know ascribes them any credibility any longer .
        This episode however, shows they’re much worse than just bigots–they’re active promoters of hatespeech and are fully complicit in whatever consequences that speech produces, as long as it works to harm and even kill people to further their disturbing and twisted political agenda.
        More and more i wonder what kind of people are there at the Guardian these days, to turn out such vile obvious lies, transparently aimed at harming Jews and Israel in any way they can. Isn’t there some commission on hate and racism in England which can investigate these people and call them out for all their thinly disguised persecution of Israel and Jews, which is really what it’s come down to?
        And equally amazing is the resounding silence of the bobble-head Libs who read this crap and digest it with nary a peep of protest, although surely many must realize how very hateful and biased toward Israel the Guardian is.
        I guess for the Left these days, it’s only offensive if it offends ( or even suggests offending) Muslims. Sad how once respectable Liberalism has lost its way entirely in the West.

        • There is the Press Complaints Commission in the UK. However, In today’s news cycle what good is the PCC when it takes weeks for an investigation and then a slap on the wrist. By then the damage has been done, as we have seen countless times.
          The best hope is that the Groan goes bankrupt. Or the laws are changed and tougher penalties are introduced.
          You can sue in the UK. That is painful when they have to pay.
          I see the Groan as the rectal Thermometer of the Left. It is sick, but we see what the temperature is.

  2. As I’ve stated on previous threads the other notable feature about the Guardians coverage is the contrast between this and Muslim terrorism coverage.

    The Guardian seems to almost take delight in accusing Jews of involvement in this film based on unsubstantiated and false information but when Muslims actually commit terrorism or other acts of violence the paper does it’s best to hide the terrorists religious identity. For instance during the recent Muslim sex gang rapes of non-Muslim underage girls in England the stories did not mention the criminals religion.

    This contrast clearly shows the guardian has an anti-Jewish and pro-Muslim agenda seeking to show Jews in the worst possible light but Islam in the best way while distorting the truth to achieve this.

    • Al, I couldn’t agree more.

      The reluctance of the Guardian to retract these anti-Jewish and anti-Zionist smears promptly, but rather to add to them, is indicative of a deliberate propaganda campaign of lies and distortion that the paper is waging against Jews and Israel.

      There can be little doubt that anti-semitism is thoroughly embedded in the Guardian culture, and that the Guardian is guilty of hate speech.

      I call on Jonathon Freedland and all other Jews working for the Guardian, or its parent company GMG, to resign from the organization, and for all Jews to boycott their products.

      • Check out the current G. homepage. There must be 100+ stories and links … and no mention of the Jews. Strange for a paper your accuse of “waging a war against Jews”!

        Saying that “anti-semitism is thoroughly embedded in the Guardian culture” is simply laughable.

        Broaden your horizons, people.

    • From that “loonwatch” article by someone calling him/her/self Garibaldi:

      “Forget about any real, accurate, historical basis for the depiction of Prophet Muhammad, he is assigned all the usual Orientalist, Islamophobic characterizations: child molester, murderer, forcibly converting non-believers,..”

      Really? Is that what Orientalists do? We are all the Arab Street now.

  3. After watching on the Israeli arabic language channel by movies made in Egypt, Syria and Jordan it is perfectly clear that this clip has been made by people grown up watching Arabic movies.

  4. When there is dog poop on the curb, Blumenthal will kneel down and scoop it up and make a story. How this man still gets published is beyond me. In some Europeans countries this guy would not get a foot in a building where real news is published. Incredible.

  5. The Guardian must therefore promptly issue a prominent correction on each and every one of those articles citing, referring to or inspired by the irresponsible AP report, making it very clear that its reports were misleading, unfounded and untruthful.

    Absolutely, and it looks like in the case of Greenwald’s article something was done due to the vehemence of the response BTL.

    The wording in Greenwald’s article was not just “updated”, in one critical area it was actually amended. Leaving the bald assertion that Bacile was an Israeli on the website, where it would circulate forever as the Guardian’s lies about the Jenin Massacre do, would simply have been yet another opportunity for endless inflammatory citations against Israel made on the basis of a false statement:

    Original wording:

    The anti-Islam film was written, directed and produced by an Israeli real estate developer living in California, Sam Bacile. He claimed, in an interview with Ha’aretz, that the film “cost $5m to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors”.

    Amended wording that carries an attribution and correction instead:

    The anti-Islam film was originally reported by the Associated Press news agency to have been written, directed and produced by an Israeli real estate developer living in California, Sam Bacile. Later the news agency issued a fresh story having investigated further and traces the genesis of the film to a Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, living in California. [see footnote]

    • Editor’s note: this article was amended on 14 September. The original stated that the producer of the film was Sam Bacile, an Israeli real estate developer living in California and that he had made the film with the help of 100 Jewish donors. This assertion was based on an Associated Press report that was published in Ha’aretz [see updates above].

    • With due respect to the updates and amends, the Guardian must be held responsible for any harm caused to Jews as a result of their Sturmer style libels.

      • While I agree that this was highly irresponsible reporting from the Guardian – it is ridiculous to compare the paper with Der Stürmer.

  6. James O Brien(LBC97.3)radio presenter was spouting film made by Christian Fundementalists and a Kabel of Jewish businessmen


  7. This is the same Max Blumenthal who tried to say a Thai worker massacred the Fogel family in Itamar last year.
    Even after it became known that a Palestinian commited the massacre, Blumenthal made excuses for this Arab terrorist.
    This Blumenthal is a sicko who turns a blind eye to the Palestinians racist media against Israel.

    2nd, in a paper that Max Blumenthal writes for.
    A Palestinian-Lebanese historian says “Protocols” describes Judaism perfectly.
    The article is pretty much a racist hate mongering diatribe by this Palestinian.
    Guess what, Blumenthal who writes in the same paper didn’t protest one bit about it.
    You can read about it here.

  8. Greenwald and Blumenthal are just saying what their Guardian and Iranian fellow travellers tell them.

    “The number one suspects in this crime are Zionism and the US. If the American politicians are honest that they had no role, then they must punish those who committed this heinous crime and their financial backers, who have wrenched the hearts of Muslim nations, in proportion to this great crime,” Khamenei said.

  9. Here in the UK , LBC presenter James o Brian on his phone in show repeatedly mentioned the producer was an Israeli Jew . For maximum effect he slipped in the notion of a ‘ shadowy circle of cigar chomping individuals who achieved the result they were looking for .
    I eventually got through to one of his team to relate the fact that Basili had been identified the previous evening as a Coptic Christian from Egypt . Both Associated Press and the Huff had reported on it .
    I asked why O Brian’s researchers had not checked up on it before he came on air . All they had to do was key in his name .
    She said she would try to get me on and to wait for a ring back which needless to say was not forthcoming .

  10. Sylhar
    Just saw your earlier comment regarding O Brian on LBC . He has previous form relating to Israel , all bad . Seems like he’s extended that to Jews , especially invoking powerful imagery of cigar chomping moguls . Most of early Hollywood was indeed controlled by Jews and many smoked cigars .
    The real sickening irony came a little later when he turned to the Hillsboro disaster and the sun reporting that the fans were drunk as related by the police . O Brian called it gutter press relying on unsubstantiated reports .
    O Brian should get the annual press award for most accomplished loud mouth and hypocrit in addition to his hate filled rants on Israel .

  11. The Copts who produced this film did their cause a great disservice by their childish ways of pointing out certain realities about Mohammed which are reported in the Koran and the Hadith. If one views the film, it begins with actual news shots of Egyptian mobs, liberated by the Arab Spring, attacking and burning Christian churches. Apparently these Copts wanted to draw attention to the real-world plight of the declining Christian community in Arab countries – a plight which just moved the Pope just now in Lebanon to appeal to Christians not to leave the Orient. I hope they will make another film which sticks on message and doesn’t open itself to attacks from the Muslim-pandering West and videos of Arabs implementing the message of Islam, the Religion of Peace.

  12. There was mystery from the outset over Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s identity.

    But the one early report with a quote saying he “identifies himself as an Israeli Jew” prompted the G. to headline “Israeli director goes into hiding after protests”.
    Particularly on a story as sensitive as this, that’s truly shocking journalism.

    As pointed out above, however, the G. was backtracking just hours later:

    By Thursday, it was quite clear that there was no Israeli involvement whatsoever in the making of the film.

    Of course that hasn’t prevented the brainless likes of Hezbollah’s Nasrallah blaming it on Israel – and the US – yesterday.

  13. Particularly on a story as sensitive as this, that’s truly shocking journalism

    No it is not journalism, it is a legal and not so subtle way to incite the Muslim masses to kill Jews worldwide. A perfect match to the Guardian’s agenda.

        • You don’t like the Guardian’s coverage of Israel. Fine. Nor do I.

          But equating it with Der Stürmer is outrageous.

          And no – it is just stupid to claim that “every reasonable reader” would agree with you.

          • Equating with the Sturmer? No way. The Sturmer didn’t masquerade as the “leading liberal voice”

      • Pretz Do you actually believe that the Guardian staff are so stupid that they whip up undeserved hatred for members of a religious/ethnic group that could once again devolve into killing Jews wholesale purely by chance?

  14. Does anybody know where the “100 unnamed Jewish donors” line came from in the first place? And why Nakoula – apparently – claimed he was Israeli?

    Was Nakoula trying to incite conflict between Muslims, Christians and Jews? (i.e. not just in the film but also in statements)

    • Seems like he was.
      Unless someone just made it all up and he never said that he was either Jewish, Israeli or received money from Jewish donors.

  15. Brava Hadar.

    I think that the Guardian is in breach of its own guidelines

    “We will not tolerate racism, sexism, homophobia or other forms of hate-speech, or contributions that could be interpreted as such.”

    The recurrent uses of Jewish, Zionist and Israeli in connection with a video that had no links with either of the three is deliberate, pointed and malicious