BBC Watch report reveals the malice of Seumas Milne’s anti-Israel propaganda

As our sister site, BBC Watch, recently reported, on November 5, about an article in the Middle East section of the BBC reported the following:

“A Palestinian has died after being hit by Israeli gunfire as he approached Gaza’s border fence with Israel.

The Israeli military said the man was shot after ignoring warnings to stop. Palestinian medics said the man was unarmed and mentally ill.”

The same incident was cynically exploited by the Guardian’s Seumas Milne in his ‘Comment is Free’ essay on Nov. 20, which explicitly endorsed the right of Palestinians to commit acts of terrorism against Israelis (while rejecting the right of Israelis to defend themselves), titled ‘It’s Palestinians who have the right to defend themselves‘.

Milne wrote:

“In fact, an examination of the sequence of events over the last month shows that Israel played the decisive role in the military escalation: from its attack on a Khartoum arms factory reportedly supplying arms to Hamas and the killing of 15 Palestinian fighters in late October, to the shooting of a mentally disabled Palestinian in early November, the killing of a 13 year-old in an Israeli incursion and, crucially, the assassination of the Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari last Wednesday during negotiations over a temporary truce.”

[emphasis added in both quotes]

The man shot near the border fence (mentioned by the BBC and Milne) was named by Palestinian sources as Ahmed Tawfiq ‘Awadh al Nabahin. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which purports to document all casualties in Gaza, stated the day after the incident that al Nabahin suffered from epilepsy.

As Hadar Sela of BBC Watch noted, epilepsy is not a “mental illness” or a “mental disability” but, rather, a neurological condition.

Further, The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre’s weekly report for the the week of October 31 to November 6 reports as follows:

“On the evening of November 4 an IDF force identified a suspicious Palestinian approaching the security fence. They called to him to halt and fired shots in the air. However, when he did not comply and continued towards the fence, he was shot and killed (IDF Spokesman, November 5, 2012).

The Palestinian media reported the death of Ahmed Tawfiq al-Nabahin, 23, a resident of Juhr al-Dik. The reports claimed he was “mentally disturbed.” A picture of the same “mentally disturbed” individual, wearing a body-armor vest and armed with a rifle, was posted on the Hamas forum…Hamas posted a notice of al-Nabahin’s death on its website and appealed to the residents of the Al-Bureij refugee camp to participate in his funeral. His body was wrapped in the Hamas flag ( website and Safa News Agency, November 5, 2012). (Safa News Agency, November 5, 2012)”


So, the ‘martyr’ in Milne’s tale was, in fact, a Hamas member who likely had epilepsy.

Moreover, the case represents another example of Israel being held to expectations that no army in the world could meet.  

In the case of Ahmed Tawfiq al-Nabahin, the IDF was somehow supposed to make a split second assessment of the security threat posed by a Palestinian approaching their border, determine whether he was armed, and, evidently, complete a psychological and neurological assessment of the suspect before taking action to prevent a possible terror attack.  

In other words, even if Tawfiq al-Nabahin was mentally disabled (which he evidently wasn’t), how could any security force have possibly made that determination while the border breach was occurring?

The truth, as plainly revealed by Milne’s Nov. 20 essay, is that the Guardian associate editor doesn’t seem to much care whether Israelis (faced with such terror attacks) live or if they die.  

However, it is the duty of those who lay claim to truly universal human rights to call out such crude propaganda and double standards – especially when such moral malice insidiously passes as ‘liberal’ commentary.

18 replies »

  1. Oh dear, Adam, you expected Milne to apply logic and commonsense. That will never do. High flown impractical theory, perhaps. Logic, never.

  2. Any chance that seumas milne is gonna be amongst one of the 170 journobot positions that Al-Guardian may be about to shed due to freefalling readership and soaring losses ??

  3. Shameless is hardly going to say the truth is he?It is constantly in conflict with his world-view, and as such is treated with the contempt it deserves.

  4. I think this is the same incident cited by Owen Jones on BBC Question Time just after the ceasefire. I will try and check.

  5. Yes, here is Owen Jones saying he was “mentally disabled”. Will the BBC now put out a correction and tell what actually happened?

    • don’t be so silly and quite such a drama queen. Owen doesn’t work for the BBC, it is not incumbent upon them to correct every inaccurate utterance from every participant in a panel question and answer programme.

      In any case making the distinction is pretty desperate. Epilepsy is a neurological disabilty, and while not quite the same thing as a mental disability the difference is not so great as to justify you having an orgasm over it.

      • RichardArmbach,
        Go f*ck yourself!
        There are hundreds of types of Epilepsy hardly any of them classified as a disability.
        It is a condition you bafoon.
        However, 3 out of 4 people suffer from a mental condition of some sort.
        I am certain you are one of those.
        Still, that puts you in the norm.

  6. Arafat had epilepsy!
    As do I.
    I guess for Seumas we are both mentally sisabeled.
    I am thinking of suing to get a public apology!
    On second thought, jusdging by the lies he tells, his apology will mean nothing!

  7. Shameless never lets the truth get in the way of his hatred.
    And of course what he and others avoid like the plague is the knowledge that the mentally ill, those with learning difficulties and otherwise challenged are prime targets to be groomed by Hamas and others, who take supreme advantage of whatever unhappiness they are experiencing and lie that killing themselves among Jews will give them peace in paradise

    One such was Wafa Samir Al-Biss, who wanted to blow herself up in the Soroka Hospital and, in her words to kill as many doctors, nurses and children as she could, because she had been badly burned in a household accident and her fiance had broken off their engagement which, of course, left her very depressed. This left her head wide open to be messed with by the animals from Hamas, who had her carry explosives when she came through the crossing to attend a hospital visit. Luckily, she was spotted, the bomb neutralised and she was slung into jail.

    She has only recently been released as part of the exchange for Gilad Schalit. She has been on Palestinian TV encouraging others to kill Jews.

  8. Let’s assume he was mentally ill. So what? That covers a wide range of disorders, and tells us nothing relevant. I’m mentally ill too- I have a couple of phobias. Certainly doesn’t make me harmless, or unable to understand the danger of going to a place I am not allowed to, especially when this prohibition is empathized with warning shots(an obvious sign you should stop what you’re doing and pay attention, if ever there was one). Not that the soldiers could have known or should have cared either way.

  9. Wow all these idiots defending killing an unarmed guy. These seem to be the sad assholes who love CIF..bullshitters for Israel..they love a good lie as that is all they do everyday I bet. Shame on you low lives.

    • And you seem to be pretty annoyed by Jews defending themselves. Too bad for you because you’ll have to swallow the new reality.

  10. Just face it the Israelis as usual murdered over 100 Palestinian civilians including about 30 children and I bet all your wankers were cheering them on. You really are the lowest of the low.