Did an Economist editor just issue a thinly-veiled threat to CAMERA?

My colleague Tamar Sternthal (Director of CAMERA’s Israel office) just published a response to a Ha’aretz commentary written by Economist journalist Nicolas Pelham (“Christians in Israel and Palestine“, May 11) which accused Israel’s lobbyists of deceiving the world about the state’s treatment of Christians, and cited Proverbs to admonish the Zionists: “Deceive not with thy lips.”  


As Sternthal demonstrates however, it is Pelham who repeatedly deceives in citing misleading population statistics, falsely claiming that Christmas Trees are banned in the Knesset, and risibly suggesting harmony between Christians and Muslims in the Palestinian territories.

Interestingly, her post prompted another Economist journalist – their community editor Ananyo Bhattacharya – to Tweet the following:

While you can read Pelham’s Ha’aretz essay, and Sternthal’s response, and judge for yourself who’s deceiving and misleading, we can assure Mr. Bhattacharya (who’s also a Guardian contributor) that Sternthal and her colleagues at the US-based media watchdog group won’t lose any sleep over his, umm, ‘friendly advice’, and will continue responding to the Economist’s biased coverage of Israel whenever they see it – aggressively and without fear.

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26 replies »

  1. I wonder if Ananyo is familiar with the term Doth protest too much.

    Ah, Twitter. For law arguments. From total tools of the Establishment who wish to lie, exaggerate, mis-report, and provide easily misapplied data to support outlandish claims regarding the world’s only Jewish state.

    Got it!

    • Manu Christians who were born and raised in Jerusalem and whose families have lives in the Holy city for generations have had their right to reside in the City cancelled by Israeli authorities because they went to study and live in Europe and the US for a number of years.

      Have never seen such a thing happen to Christians in the State of Palestine.

      • Have never seen such a thing happen to Christians in the State of Palestine
        Maybe because there isn’t any state called the State of Palestine? Just asking….

      • “Have never seen such a thing happen to Christians in the State of Palestine.”

        You’ve never seen a State of Palestine. But there was a Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem where Jews “who were born and raised in Jerusalem and whose families have lives in the Holy city [sic] for generations” had their right to reside in the City cancelled by the Jordanian authorities because they were Jews. Nor were Jews allowed into the city.

        Do you see the difference between this and your somewhat obscurantist claim?

        • The State of Palestine is the state right next to is Israel, whose territory has been occupied since 1967. It sits at the UN. You need to either buy a map of the Middle-East, or a pair of glasses.

          • Yes Achbal and the Moon is a smiling cheese. Don’t worry the nurse is going to deal with the problem quickly.

          • You are wrong-that land had been occupied long before 1967. The Jordanians occupied it from 1948-1967, before that it was the Brits and before that it was the Ottomans. That has never, ever been a state because they declined to form one in 1948. That was never a border. Only an armistice/ceasefire line. Read a history book.

      • “Manu Christians…”

        Really Anna, as a Christian I am interested.
        So how many is it in total?
        How many were refused after studying in Europe?
        How many were refused after studying in the USA?
        And in either case was a reason ever given for the refusal?

        I look forward with interest to your informative reply.

        • Gerard, it is easy, just read UN OCHA ‘s landmark report on East Jerusalem, all the facts are inside.

          • Briton I asked a few specific questions. If you are answering for Anna what are the answers to the questions I asked.

            By the way if you are a Briton, and I doubt if you could find Britain on a map, Mary Poppins was a crack whore.

      • Maybe you should take a look at the living conditions of the Christian Palestinians in Jordan, also known as (historical fact) Jew-free Palestine.

        Meanwhile, I await the lawsuit!

        • Have been to Jordan. Christians communities are prosperous and happy, including Christian Palestinian refugees who were forcibly displaced from their homes in 1948 when the State of Israel was founded, even though the latter are waiting to return home.

          • So let me understand. The Christian Palestinians are very happy in Jordan and oppressed in Israel but they want to live there anyway. They must belong to some masochist fringe group of the Christian religion. Christianity.

          • I bet. That’s why the Queen being Palestinian was such a big deal. So many happy Palestinian Christians in Jordan… and Lebanon and Syria and Iraq, to boot. They’re all so happy and have better lives than the Christians in Israel. I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I READ THE INTERWEBZ!!111!

            You’re so funny that the scientific term for your mental condition is Hysterical.

          • Now I understand the mile long ques of Christaian wannabe immigrants in front of the Jodanian and Egyptian embassies worldwide.

  2. Fisking Pelham’s pathetic crap is a real fun. Dear Nicolas knows gurnischt spiced with some more gurnischt about his subject.
    For example he writes:
    The country’s most prominent Christian politician, Azmi Bishara …
    Everyone who follows Israeli politics knows that Bishara is a marxist and was a member of the now defunct Israeli Communist Party. Calling him a “Christian politician” is the same like calling Trotsky a prominent Jewish politician or Hitler a prominent Catholic politician.
    Regarding the Christmas tree and the Knesset:
    Sweden: Parliament official orders bare-breasted painting removed … for Muslims
    STOCKHOLM, Sweden, – A painting of a bare-breasted woman has been removed from the Swedish Riksdag’s guest dining room on orders from the legislature’s deputy speaker.
    Deputy Speaker Susanne Eberstein of the Social Democrat party ordered the painting, “Juno” by baroque artist G.E. Schroder, to be removed from the guest dining room, where it had hung since 1983, reported Thursday.
    A parliamentary source who asked to remain anonymous told TT lawmakers were concerned about the painting’s effects on foreign visitors.
    “You have to think of the foreign guests, especially those from Muslim countries,” the source said.
    Eberstein said the painting’s removal was also for the comfort of herself and her fellow female officials.

    Sadly every profession is infested with ignorant and dishonest assholes and threatening bullies – journalism is not an exception, Pelham and Bhattacharya are only two little drops in the ocean. I have a feeling that Mr. Bhattacharya must be very frustrated – the good old times of the Inquisition are behind us, he can’t put the offending Jew to the stake and forced to make do with empty threats.
    Hey Ananyo. Bhattacharya! You are a moron and a bully!
    Now go and sue me…

  3. “But as someone who knows a little about British libel law I can tell you..”
    Ah, yes, spoken like David Irving.

  4. Camera’s response is not convincing at all. Pelham’s assertion that the Christian population has decreased in percentage in Israel since 48 is accurate. Camera does a very poor job at trying to contradict one of the most famous British foreign correspondents in Jerusalem. Not to mention that Christian authorities did express grave concern at the rise of anti Chirsitan sentiment in Israel.

    • Here we go again.
      A different day,
      A different name,
      But the same load of crap.

      Why don’t you slither back into the primeval swamp, you pathetic excuse for a reptile, and stay there!

    • “Camera’s response is not convincing at all.”
      Give Camera some slack. It’s hard to convince a bigot.

    • Achbal dear if Pelham is one of the most famous foreign journalist in Jerusalem then the international media is doomed.
      Pelham’s assertion that the Christian population has decreased in percentage in Israel since 48 is accurate.
      Just a control question; Would you answer this 2+2 =?

    • And in numbers, Antisemite?
      As Sternthal wrote:
      By citing relative figures instead of absolute figures, Pelham deceives readers into believing Israel’s Christian population “has fallen,” when the opposite is true.

  5. Palestinian Christian heroically talks how Palestinian Muslims are persecuting Christians in the West Bank.

    There’s a Palestinian Christian woman named Christy Anastas who heroically talks how Palestinian Muslims are persecuting Christians in the West Bank.
    She fled the West Bank to London after Fatah threatened her life.
    Click on the link to see her video
    What Happens When A Palestinian Doesn’t Hate Israel Enough?
    By Luke Moon
    May 1, 2014

    A video was uploaded onto YouTube which featured a young Palestinian Christian woman describing what it was like to live under Israel military occupation. If that was all the video was about, it would have simply been added to the thousands of other YouTube videos which describe the same thing. What made Christy Anastas’ video unique was that she bravely revealed how Palestinian Christians have and are being treated by Palestinian Muslims and nationalists.

    Breaking through the silence and fear faced by so many Palestinians, Christy described how her uncle, a Palestinian Christian from Bethlehem, had to pay the al-jizyah, protection money that is often levied against non-Muslims. After some time her uncle refused to pay the protection money because he noticed the militants would shoot and launch rockets near the Christian homes so that the retaliation would come on the Christians. Because of his refusal to pay up he was murdered in front of his house.

    She painfully describes the sexual harassment she faced as a young woman, “I used to get sexually harassed while walking to university. I used to get to university and turn around feeling so disgusted.”

    She wondered why it is that the Palestinian Christians are fleeing traditionally Christian areas like Bethlehem, whose Christian population has fallen from 85 to 7 percent in the last two decades, for supposedly economic reasons, but they have been replaced by Muslims.

    While still in the Palestinian Territories, Christy was encouraged to visit Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust museum. She also visited a popular Christian church in Jerusalem where Jews and Palestinians worship together. Learning more about Jewish history and the Bible she began to speak about her rejection of dhimmitude (second class status for non-Muslims) and her right for the Jews to have a nation.

    Because of this, a member of her family said to her, “I have a gun, I have a bullet, I will put it in your head and end your life. You’re playing with big fire you’re going to burn your family before you burn yourself and I was sent to stop you.” Under significant pressure she fled to the UK where she received political asylum.

    So what happened when the YouTube video began to go viral?

    In the first video released by Christy on April 16th which featured the presentation she gave at a university in Sweden. In the video Christy described where she grew up in the Palestinian Territories and the unique position of her family’s home in that it is surrounded on three sides by the separation barrier. It did not take long before people began to identify who her family was.

    Almost immediately Christy’s family began to receive death threats and visits by security and intelligence officials from the Palestinian Authority. Even the churches in her home town asked for the video to be pulled down because of fear of attacks from Muslims.
    After a week of intense pressure and just 6500 views the video was pulled off YouTube.

    But it was too late. Word had spread that the daughter of the Anastas family was a traitor to the Palestinian cause. Christy’s sister was afraid to go to school. Christy even received death threats in the UK. Tragically the only option left for the Anastas family was to publicly disown Christy. The family went on Palestinian radio stating:

    We as a family reject fully and completely and remove ourselves from any word that has rolled off of Christy’s tongue in her speech. We denounce and express disapproval of what she has done and believe that what has happened is a result of direct duress currently imposed upon her. We were surprised, as we heard what she said just as you have heard it, and we have no connection to what she has said. We consider what has happened to Christy to be an act of entrapment and exploitation perpetrated by the Israeli occupation in an attempt to weaken us and remove us from our home, which has been targeted ever since the apartheid wall has been built. The occupation has exploited Christy in an attempt to grab us by the hand and cause us further pain. We plea with all of you to understand our point of view, as we are trying to follow up on this issue and learn more on what is happening to her in Britain.

    Following the release of this statement by her parents, Christy released a second video that includes a promise made to her by Dr. Saed Erekat, Chief Negotiator for the Palestinian Authority, on Al Jazeera, that he would protect human rights, freedom of speech, and the rights of women.

    Sadly, what has happened to Christy is not limited to Palestinian Christians. It is becoming increasingly evident that anyone who speaks out in a way contrary to the party line will be publicly reprimanded and disowned. Just last week, Mahmoud al-Habbash, the Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs, was disowned by his family for stating that Palestinian blood is like Israeli blood.

    According to Khaled Abu Toameh, from the Gatestone Institute, al-Habbash was speaking to journalist about the killing of a, Israeli police officer in Hebron. al-Habbash said, “We reject all forms for violence, whether they are directed against Israelis or Palestinians. Palestinian blood is like Israeli blood. It is human blood and precious and no one wants anyone killed.”

    For equating Palestinian and Israel blood al-Habbash’s family issued a statement, “We are proud of the heroic operation in Hebron and of every man and child fighting against the occupation. We disown him and anyone who embraces the despicable Israeli enemy.”

    Fatah leader Mansour al-Sa’di blasted al-Habbah, “We call for lifting his diplomatic immunity and for prosecuting him for administrative, financial and political corruption. We also call on President Abbas to fire him immediately from the Palestinian cabinet.”

    During the recent Christ at the Checkpoint conference in Bethlehem there was a breakout session where student delegations from the US and Europe could interact with students from Bethlehem Bible College. One of the foreign students asked how the Palestinian Christians were treated by the Muslims. One student began to describe how he and his fellow Christians were treated as second class citizens, but before he could expound further he was silenced by one of the professors.

    It seems rather clear that whether a Palestinian supports Israel or doesn’t hate Israel enough the outcome is the same. Last week’s reconciliation between Fatah and the terrorist organization, Hamas, should not be seen as a move towards a unified Palestinian state where democracy and basic human rights, like freedom of speech, flourish. Instead, it seems more likely that if a Palestinian state were established tomorrow it would just be another hard-fisted autocracy–one that we helped create.

  6. I am a huge fan of CIFwatch, but that guy does have a point. You should be careful regarding libel laws. If you say a journalist is “wrong” or “an idiot” about something and you show why, that’s a valid point, and you are safe. But if you imply that a journalist “MEANT” to mislead their readers, that MIGHT be libel in some places.

    Definitely look into this at least once, not just for this one example. But it’s worth knowing.

    And again, don’t yell at me. I am a huge CIFwatch fan.