Last week we posted about an extraordinarily dishonest article in the Observer (sister publication of the Guardian) by Peter Beaumont, the paper’s new Jerusalem correspondent. Beaumont pulled off quite a feat. He managed to turn a few security delays which occurred in the midst of thousands of Christian pilgrims freely attending Easter celebrations in Jerusalem last weekend into a story suggesting that Israel was abrogating the rights of Christians to freely worship.
The brief delays were caused by security and crowd control measures designed by Israeli security personnel to keep masses of worshipers from surging into the church. Indeed, such measures are likely the main reason why there were no reports of violence despite the incredibly large number of visitors, and why Christian officials reportedly thanked Israeli police for their professional handling of the event.
Undaunted by the broader fact that Israel remains the only country in the Middle East where Christian aren’t being persecuted for their beliefs, Beaumont had a tale of Israeli oppression to tell, and was no doubt heartened when he ‘learned’ of reports that the UN’s peace envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry (and his delegation), were ‘denied’ entry to one of the Easter-related ceremonies at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Beaumont made the following claim which, in fairness, was evidently based on reports originally published by Reuters:
On Sunday morning it emerged that Israeli police had prevented the UN’s peace envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, other diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians from attending the Holy Fire ceremony on Saturday.
Beaumont then quoted Serry’s complaint that Israeli authorities engaged in “unacceptable behavior” and noted his demand that all parties “respect the right of religious freedom”.
However, there was one big problem. As we reported in our initial post on Beaumont’s article, Serry and his party, after a 30 minute delay, were indeed permitted to pass, and in fact attended the Holy Fire ceremony.
We based our conclusion on reports in the Washington Post which we later confirmed with Israeli Police Spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld.
After contacting editors at the Observer, the paper acknowledged that Serry did attend the ceremony, and revised the passage accordingly.
It now reads:
On Sunday morning it emerged that for 30 minutes Israeli police had prevented the UN’s peace envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, other diplomats and a crowd of Palestinians from attending the Holy Fire ceremony on Saturday.
Additionally, there is this addendum:
So, one of the main ‘incidents’ used by Beaumont to suggest that Israel was oppressing Christians on Easter never actually occurred.
Though we commend Observer editors for revising the passage in question, the broader narrative of the day’s events in Jerusalem advanced by Beaumont again demonstrates the Guardian’s capacity to frame almost any event in the Jewish state in a manner consistent with their rigid anti-Zionist ideology.
- BBC News produces article about man held up for half an hour (bbcwatch.org)
- What the Guardian won’t report: Arabs terrorize Jewish kids at Temple Mount (cifwatch.com)
- CiF Watch prompts correction to Robert Fisk’s gross under count of Arab Israelis (cifwatch.com)
- Following CiF Watch post, Guardian corrects false claim in Peter Beaumont report (cifwatch.com)