General UK Media

Times of Israel editor notes Guardian’s “savage criticism” of the Jewish State


Ilan Ben Zion, political editor of Times of Israel, noted, in a column yesterday, the “savage criticism” of Israel in the UK media (especially at the Guardian) in coverage of the war with Hamas, especially in comparison with news outlets “on the other side of the pond”. 

After highlighting some of the sympathetic coverage towards Israel which has appeared in the Wall St. Journal, Ben Zion turned to the UK media, focusing on Times of London, as well as the Guardian:

Across the pond in London, The Times’ lead coverage placed its focus on the Palestinian civilian death toll, which “continued to spiral,” and the “mounting international pressure on Israeli leaders not to risk a potentially devastating ground offensive.” The paper also alluded to a degree of reluctance in the Israeli government to follow through with its pronouncement that it’d levy a heavy price on Hamas.

“Domestic support for a ground offensive is strong, with feelings running high after the killings of the three religious students in the West Bank,” the paper reported. “The need to answer that outrage may have helped fuel political rhetoric about a blistering offensive in Gaza without a clear commitment to actually undertake one.”

Ben Zion then turned to the Guardian:

Britain’s The Guardian featured an opinion piece by Mustafa Barghouti, head of the Palestinian National Initiative, in which he despairs that the world is standing by once again amid a “campaign of collective punishment against Palestinian citizens across the occupied territories.” He calls for international intervention to restrain the IDF, and urges world leaders to stop the escalation of violence “and prevent further slaughter.”

He says the asymmetry of the conflict is the root of its violence, but makes only passing reference to the relentless rocket attacks on Israeli citizens.

“The fact remains that an illegal military occupation has been in place for 47 years,” he says. “It is one that has transformed life for Palestinians into an oppressive system of apartheid. Without changing that, nothing else will change.”

One of the paper’s most popular commentaries (as of the time of this writing) compared the current conflict between Israel and Gaza to “Mike Tyson punching a toddler,” and decried the BBC’s coverage of the three-day conflict.

“The media coverage hardly reflects the reality,” writes Owen Jones. “A military superpower armed with F-15 fighter jets, AH-64 Apache helicopters, Delilah missiles, IAI Heron-1 drones and Jericho II missiles (and nuclear bombs, for that matter), versus what [British Prime Minister] David Cameron describes as a ‘prison camp’ firing almost entirely ineffective missiles.”

No opinion pieces from the other side of the spectrum featured prominently on the British paper’s website

In addition to the examples cited by the Times of Israel editor, a few other articles and op-eds at the Guardian are worth noting:

  • An op-ed by Daniel Levy, a New Israel Fund board member and Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, was published at ‘CiF’ which defended Hamas – characterizing the Islamist group as reasonable, non-radical, “mainstream” nationalist movement.
  • letter, signed by the Guardian’s usual list of anti-Zionist activists, was published which accused Israel of “ethnically cleansing the indigenous population“, and actually criticized the BBC for its pro-Israel coverage!
  • Finally, a cartoon by Martin Rowson is emblematic of the media group’s coverage to date.  Rowson used Wimbledon as a theme to contrast the Israeli Goliath with the benign ‘rocket lobbing’ Hamasnik. 

martin rowson

Whilst the Guardian’s egregiously one-sided coverage of the war isn’t at all surprising , it’s always instructive nonetheless to note the widespread notoriety of a London daily aptly characterized by Jeffrey Goldberg as the”English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on earth”.

8 replies »

  1. to note the widespread notoriety of a London daily aptly characterized by Jeffrey Goldberg as the”English-language newspaper least friendly to Israel on earth”.

    That can’t be. The Guardian claims to be ‘fair and balanced’.

  2. “No opinion pieces from the other side of the spectrum featured prominently on the British paper’s website”

    On the contrary, one of the first (maybe THE first) opinion piece published both online and in the paper on 10 July was by Michael Herzog, a retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces and holder of senior positions in the office of Israel’s minister of defense. Entitled ‘Gaza air strikes are a necessary show of force for Israel’ it argued precisely that point:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/10/gaza-air-strikes-necessary-force-israel-hamas-bankrupt

  3. Good for Ilan Ben Zion but he’s telling us little new.

    “A letter, signed by the Guardian’s usual list of anti-Zionist activists, was published which accused Israel of “ethnically cleansing the indigenous population“, and actually criticized the BBC for its pro-Israel coverage!”

    Ah! That explains the shennanigans in Manchester yesterday on the motorway to Salford Quays, where al-Beeb is located now. A cavalcade of cars, crawling along at 10mph (no police in sight, curiously enough, to move them on) causing a massive tailback, and their drivers hurling abuse and spitting at motorists who overtook them.

    These morons must’ve been Guardian readers, if they could read….

  4. The issue is not why so many (so few, actually) civilians have been killed relative to Hamas tennis players (see Rowson’s cartoon in the Guardian) but why so few tennis players have been killed.

    Clearly Hamas is using civilians as human shields. Their tennis players fire a volley into Israel and rush back to their prepared bunkers leaving the civilians to their fate.

    There is a great picture of a Hamas rocket launch in the Daily Mail that shows exactly how a rocket is fired from a cluster of multistory buildings, to protect the tennis players from a strike and maximize damage from any Israeli response.

  5. A far better analogy than Mike Tyson punching a toddler would be Mike Tyson being set upon by a gang of thugs in an alley. He is doing rather well & the thugs are perhaps wishing they hadn’t bothered. Nevertheless he was assaulted & entitled to defend himself.

    The media in this analogy is the neighbour looking out of a nearby window choosing to see only a bully and no context.

  6. Of course if you were looking for the most obvious statement on the conflict from the Guardian one might do best to read the editorial:

    “Fellow governments accept that Israel has little option but to reply with force to Hamas’s constant fusillade of missiles. There is an acceptance too that the Hamas arsenal is no longer the makeshift or amateurish one of old but now includes some serious firepower, capable of reaching deep into the country’s most populated areas, including Tel Aviv.

    Even the most shocking fact of the past week’s events – the asymmetry of the dead, which has seen more than 160 Palestinians killed, compared with no Israeli fatalities – can be understood to be chiefly a function of Israel’s superior defensive infrastructure: Hamas would kill scores of Israeli civilians if it could. It’s just that its missiles don’t get through, while Israel’s do.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/13/guardian-view-conflict-in-gaza

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