A glimpse into how the Guardian reported Palestinian terrorism in 1974

A Palestinian Media Watch bulletin on Feb. 28 revealed that a recent Palestinian Authority broadcast paid tribute to the terrorists (from the group, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine) who committed the Ma’alot Massacre in 1974 in which 22 children were brutally murdered inside an elementary school.  

Pictures of the terrorists, labeled as “martyrs”, with their weapons were seen during the PA broadcast – another act of state sanctioned incitement which will likely go unreported by the mainstream media or the Guardian.

Poster glorifying terrorists of the Ma'alot massacre in 1974, which killed 22 children and 4 adults

Poster shown on PA TV glorifying terrorists
of the Ma’alot massacre in 1974

Here’s a brief summary of the massacre:

On May 15, 1974 three Palestinian terrorists, disguised as IDF soldiers, who infiltrated Israel from Lebanon, entered an apartment in Ma’alot in the Galilee killing a family, including a four-year old boy.  They then stormed the town’s Netiv Meir elementary school. The terrorists kept 115 Israelis hostage (including 105 children) and threatened to murder them all unless Israel released 23 Palestinian terrorists from prison. The IDF attempted a rescue operation, but the terrorists opened fire on the children and threw hand grenades killing 22 children and 4 adults. Dozens more were wounded. 

Upon researching the Ma’alot Massacre, I found a 2011 documentary on the attack titled ‘Their eyes were dry‘, and while viewing the trailer I came across this still shot.


The Guardian: May 16, 1974

A few elements of the Guardian story are striking, especially in contrast to how the paper covers Palestinian terrorism today.

The story appears to have been the lead.

The report is illustrated with a wrenching photo of one of the bloodied Israeli children.

Though the snapshot from the video is blurry, the story appears to open with the words, “Sixteen Israeli schoolchildren were killed tonight and 70 wounded by Arab terrorists…”.  The focus is on the victims.  The perpetrators were not described, per the author, Eric Silver, as “militants” (or some other euphemism), but, rather, “terrorists”.

The terrorists are referred to as “Arab”, not “Palestinian”.

Finally, though the strap line lurches towards something suggesting sympathy for the terrorists – by characterizing them as “trapped” – the headline aptly describes the event as a “massacre”.

It’s inconceivable that such terrorist savagery would be reported similarly today.

It’s difficult, short of scouring the Guardian Archives, to say for sure when the Guardian – a truly liberal and Zionist paper under the leadership, and subsequent legacy, of former owner C.P. Scott – began to first turn on the Jewish state.  However, in 1974 (based on their coverage of the Ma’alot Massacre) they were still willing to unambiguously inform their readers that cold-blooded fanatics had murdered innocent Jewish children.

37 replies »

  1. I guess the first of the graduates from UK universities who had endured the pro palestinian hype had found work in the Guardian as they did in almost all other rags of the time. A constant barrage of anti Israel rhetoric and history revisionism evolved in the late 60’s after the 67 war. The children of wealthy gulf state oil sheikhs pinpointed those studying media and education and today they can see the fruits of their labour. Is their a campus in the UK where a pro Israel debater can stand and speak freely? I doubt it.

  2. A clue lies in the by-line: the late, lamented Eric Silver, Guardian & Observer Jerusalem reporter 1972-83. 1982, I think, was the turning-point. Until then, most anti-zionists were poorly disguised antisemites, After the mess of the Lebanon war and the excesses committed by the Phalangists, it became easier for populists to speak against Israel and more difficult (though still quite possible, with proper research) to write in Israel’s defence. And op-ed writers can be lazy!

  3. I entirely agree with Ric that Eric Silver was a decent and worthwhile journalist and I miss the accurate and fair tones of his articles after all these years (as I miss Jonathan Mirsky’s articles about China in the Observer, the Guardian’s sister Sunday paper). I miss both journalists’ articles because what came later is what we have today.
    I used to read the Guardian quite often in the 1960s and did not really notice an anti-Israel tendency until after the Six Day War in June 1967. In the aftermath of that war I felt from the Guardian’s editorials that it was being needlessly sympathetic to the Arab states that had intended to destroy Israel and massacre its Jews. I felt the editorial line was being influenced by the current Soviet line (then something of importance if you wanted a left-wing readership that included the far-left) and as a result the paper forfeited my trust.
    I remember a Guardian page called ‘Guardian Women’, which feminists eventually had abolished as an anachronism, but which in its heyday was largely the mouthpiece of a left-wing journalist called Jill Tweedie. It might seem extraordinary now, but I distinctly remember an article she wrote in c. the 1980s about a group of British women who had converted to Islam and who came to see her in her office at the Guardian.
    These women, young, middle class and well-educated really bugged her with their head and other coverings and their claims that it was their ‘right’ to be covered from head to foot. Jill Tweedie was so annoyed by what she regarded as these self-indulgent irritants that she wrote in her column that she practically threw them out.
    Can anyone imagine that happening now, let alone in the Guardian?

    • Those were the days, Moshe, when people could make fun of any religion, including Islam. Today, if I dared to make a pun like: I slam Islam – I’d get the pc brigade calling me a bigot. What do you call a religion without a sense of humour?

      As for the Guardian – anyone remember Sri Lanka and the fate of the Tamils? I thought not. Thanks to so many non-Jewish Jews whose desire to be accepted and loved by their socialist peers made them the champions of the proverbial underdog, Palestine has come to represent the ‘epicentre of human injustice in the world’ – as we know all too well from the UN and Barack Obama. Solve the Israel-Palestine problem, and the world would be almost perfect. It’s no laughing matter…

    • Chris. The article you link to (which, by the way, is almost 7 years old) assumes that a plaque on the site of a terrorist act is a “celebration” or in “praise” of the perpetrators. Could it not just as easily be a “commemoration” of a terrible event? Note that the plaque included the phrase “to the Irgun’s regret and dismay, 91 persons were killed.”

      Is it not common practice for people to commemorate tragedies by placing some sort of memorial or plaque at the site? There is certainly a plaque outside the Indian embassy in London stating words to the effect of “This is the site at which P.C. [I forget his name] was killed on [I forget the date]. There are no expressions here of “regret” or “dismay”. Would the Telegraph assume therefore that this plaque is a “celebration” of the killing?

      No, I thought not.

    • And of course, Chris, the British never engaged in “politically inspired violence” “in the region” did they? Never even turned away from any “politically inspired violence” “in the region” , eh? Boy, have you got some reading to do !
      But, of course, the British had the “right” to be there, not so for the Jews, huh?
      Just because the Israelis put up a commemorative plaque, it doesn’t necessarily make it a “celebration.” Commemorative plaques are put in place to reember all sorts of tragedies. In fact, I saw nothing in the quote which would indicate a celebration nor glorification. The so-called “celebration” was just a made-up bit by your propaganda buddy trying to make hay. Could the slant of this atrocious article be more transparent?
      I’d say “nice try,” except it’s not so nice.

      • Jeff – I’m interested, where did you get the idea that I believe the British had the “right” to be in Palestine but not the Jews? Answer: you made it up. To clarify for you: it’s my view that Britain had absolutely no right to be in Palestine and that it was yet another instance of imperial hubris on our part. I have no desire to excuse it in any way. I’m ashamed of Britain’s history of politically-inspired violence in the Middle East (which I have read plenty about), just as I am of our violent history in India, Australia, America, and everywhere else.

        To your other point: the Telegraph article, I have to admit, doesn’t bother to conceal its preference for the British line on the 60th anniversary commemoration. To be fair, the journalist did not “make up” the accusation that the bombing was being “celebrated”: that was the protest being made by the British consul in Jerusalem at the time, which, while not baseless, could have been reported on more objectively. But hey, we’re talking about the Telegraph here, so don’t expect miracles when it comes to being critical of the British establishment…

        • “To clarify for you: it’s my view that Britain had absolutely no right to be in Palestine”

          Well, if that’s the case, Chris, I hope you’re not going to be one of those who comes here spouting off about international law, because the British did indeed have the right to be there – under international law.

    • For the Cox like moral relativist racists the bombing the military headquarter of the enemy after warning them to evacuate the building is morally equivalent with the deliberate killing of schoolchildren. For this type of shit the decisive factor is the ethnicity of the victims and the perpetrators not the act itself. But thank you Chris for showing the real face of EAPPI…

      • Peter – if you read the article in full you would have learned that the story about the Irgun issuing warnings to the British before the bombing were false, and that part has since been removed from the plaque because, as the British embassy has pointed out, there is no evidence to support it. (And for the record, EAPPI supports non-violence Israeli, Palestinian and international resistance to the Israeli occupation, and condemns violence unreservedly.)

        • “Issuing warnings to the British… were false”
          Does EAPPI also support lying through one’s teeth?

          Warnings were sent by telephone, including one to the hotel’s own switchboard, which the hotel staff decided to ignore… A possible reason why the warning was ignored was that hoax bomb warnings were rife at the time

            • No Jeff.
              The notion that this action, against a veritable military target, is in any way comparable to murderous Palestinian terrorism aimed at civilians is the problem.
              And, the lie spread that there had been no warning, when, in fact, there was and if acted upon, it could’ve saved lives; that’s also very dangerous.

              • Commentary101,

                That wasn’t me. I wasn’t even home at 10:02AM this morning. Someone’s pulling some funny business.

                • …and I do know the details just as you have described them in your post @7:36.
                  Who’s impersonating me? Nat perhaps?

                • P.S. Commentary, thanks for clearing up the difference between the hotel bombing and Palestinian terrorism for whoever that person was.

                • Jeff, you needn’t worry, I knew at once it wasn’t you.
                  That comment was so asinine it could only have been produced by a hit-n’-run troll of same kind.

          • What does EAPPI have to do with anything? I volunteered on that programme last year. I do not represent them and am not employed by them. Here’s a radical idea: how about just responding to the points that I make, rather than childishly attempting to link everything I say with an international human rights monitoring programme which you clearly know hopelessly little about…

            • It’s not a “Human Rights program”… don’t kid yourself.
              It’s simply yet another banal, Israel-bashing coven, sponsored by Church, this time.
              Even Giles Fraser, whom no one could suspect of being even akin to ‘pro-Israel’, said the same, about your lot.
              And why don’t you address the point at hand:(As I cited, above)
              The tenants of the hotel were forewarned. Care to retract your lie, then?

              • Commentary: Two points –

                1. I did not say that no warnings were issued. I said that the British consulate claims that no warnings reached them directly – and given that the plaque was amended to reflect this, whatever the case (and the facts remain unclear to this day) it is clearly not a lie.

                2. Giles Fraser is fully entitled to his opinion about EAPPI. As are others, including Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper; Israeli member of The Parents Circle Family Forum, Rami Elhanan; and Independent Jewish Voices: all of whom fully support the programme – a programme whose founders included several Israelis. (

                You too are of course fully entitled to your opinion on the programme, which I respect. However, I would be interested to know, given the support and involvement of Israelis that I’ve mentioned above, if you still maintain that EAPPI is an “Israel-bashing coven”. Bear in mind that being opposed to Israel’s occupation of Palestine does not mean being opposed to the State of Israel itself, any more than my being opposed to Britain and America’s invasion and occupation of Iraq made or makes me “anti-British” or “anti-American”. Such lazy sleights of hand serve no purpose.

                • Organizations like “Independent Jewish Voices” ?
                  I really recoil from organizations using such euphemistic names.

              • Yes, I fully maintain the position that the EAPPI remains an Israel-bashing claque, and you couldn’t have proven my point better, than by citing in your defence, anti-Semitism apologist Ben “I am not an anti-Semite, but I understand why some people are” White.
                To that effect, you’ve used this rather pathetic excuse too many times: The fact that you have a few Israelis, who represent no one but themselves in your coterie, does not mean they get to speak for the Israeli populace as a whole… This is a syllogistic mistake: If some A are B, it doesn’t follow that all A are B, or that all Israelis wish to eliminate their own state, as you advocate.
                Not let’s not pursue this charade any further: Your ideological compeer, of Sabeel, had this to say of Jews:
                You also promote full-fledged anti-Semites, like Stephen Sizer.
                You’ve claimed before that “Jewish theology” is a threat to Peace in the ME(nothing anti-Semitic there, I am sure)…
                And one of the volunteers participating in EAPPI (just like you) found her experiences enthusing her with veneration for Leila Khaled — Terrorist and aeroplane hijacker.
                This is the modus vivendi of the EAPPI. And don’t ply us with the ludicrous babble that you “don’t oppose Israel’s existence”… Of course you do! Otherwise, why would you beatify Khaled? Or Sizer? (Have they been granted Saint-hood yet?)
                Come on Chris(or James, or whatever), the game’s up. You’ve been exposed.
                But don’t you fear, Christianity has a long history of anti-Jewish sentiment; you’ve just enlisted the Anglican church to that end, “no big deal”.

                • Commentary101,

                  How can I debate with you when you insist on responding in such an aggressive manner? If you had some arguments grounded in fact and reason, you would be able to make them calmly and without resorting to baseless assertions. You don’t win an argument simply by telling someone what they do or don’t think – you have to provide evidence. Your hotpotch of hearsay about EAPPI does not constitute evidence about what I do and do not oppose. Nor does claiming – again, completely free of evidence – that I, personally, “beatify” Leila Khaled.

                  If you have compelling evidence that I personally am opposed to Israel’s existence, then I would be very interested to see it. Until you can provide that, your ‘argument’ remains completely devoid of credibility, and will be increasingly pointless trying to engage with.

                  Best wishes,

                • Chris, I empathise, I really do. It must surely be excruciating working for a charity, and having a zero attention-span…
                  Have you not seen the message antecedent to yours, replete with links?
                  — to EAPPI’s ties with Sizer(don’t insult us by claiming you don’t know who he is)?
                  — to Ben White’s many anti-Jewish comments, notably, his understanding of anti-Semitism?
                  (By the way, I hope you are aware that White is opposed to Israel’s existence. So how does his support for your group mesh with your purported recognition of Israel’s right to exist? a conundrum, I know…).
                  — that one of the attendees of your hate-fests has evolved to adore(read canonise) Leila Khaled?
                  — that EAPPI joined Taysir Tamimi in a conference. Tamimi believes Israel spreads AIDS and drugs deliberately among Pal. youth.
                  He was so deranged that the Pope(!) had to walk out of a meeting with him.
                  This is just one iota of the macabreness of what EAPPI stands for…
                  And you’d have us believe you “support Israel’s right to exist”? — that’s a riot!
                  On the moon, perhaps(but only if it’s Judenrein)…

                • An interesting turn of events. The beautiful and sensitive flower-like Chris – a volunteer for a proven anti-Semite organisation supported by Sizer and White- got hurt feelings. Those rude Israelis Chris…They have the cheek to say you openly what you are and whom you serve…You must be shocked…
                  You don’t win an argument simply by telling someone what they do or don’t think – you have to provide evidence.
                  Maybe your quoting from the EI an open and declared enemy of the two state solution? Maybe your volunteering for EAPPI? Or the support of Sizer is only hotpotch hearsay?

        • …there is no evidence to support it.
          That the absolutely and totally rotten and perfidious British diplomacy can’t find any evidence doesn’t meant that it is not true. (Even in EAPPI land you should know that the k\lack of evidence i not the proof of falseness).
          But let’s say for the argument’s sake that there was no warning at all., so you found morally equivalent the bombing of the military HQ of the enemy and the intentional massacre of schoolchildren.
          And for the record, EAPPI supports non-violence Israeli, Palestinian and international resistance to the Israeli occupation, and condemns violence unreservedly
          You can’t be so dumb not to understand that condemning Israel violent or not violent but administrative actions taken against Palestinian terrorism is equivalent to support their terrorism so kindly you shove your sanctimonious condemnation up your collective ecumenical ass.

          • Re: “You can’t be so dumb not to understand that condemning Israel violent or not violent but administrative actions taken against Palestinian terrorism is equivalent to support their terrorism so kindly you shove your sanctimonious condemnation up your collective ecumenical ass.”

            If you get a moment, perhaps you could translate that into English.

            • Next time between two volunteer missions to help terrorists you should take a course to read and understand simple English language texts even if they contain more than two words (and undoubtedly some grammatical and/or spelling errors)…

        • Chris, one question. Why did the Egyptians and Jordanians not create a homeland for the ‘Palestinians’ in Gaza, Judea and Samaria between 1948 and 1967? After all, they ‘occupied’ these areas?

          • Add to that question: How many UN resolutions were there during that time condemning the Egyptian/Jordanian occupations, resolutions against building in those areas, etc?

    • “Jewish terrorism”, that is.
      Interesting that an Anti-semite views the murder of Jewish schoolchildren in a similar perspective as the bombing of a military hq.
      It reminds of the murderous relativism of the NS when arguing with the so called war declaration by the “Jew” for legitimation.

  4. It’s a reminder that around forty years ago the ‘Guardian’ was a proper newspaper, and that its editors and journalists were decent liberals and genuine democratic socialists.