A guest post by AKUS
The Guardian is up to its old tricks again.
When it has only the flimsiest case on which to base an attack on Israel, it pours out article after article on a particular matter, assuming, perhaps correctly, that sheer volume will overcome lack of evidence for its claims. Loaded language, carefully selected “facts” even when none exist, and avoidance of any attempt to actually do the research to validate claims are the hallmark of its columnists.
This was the strategy it has used against Israel in numerous cases such as the Al-Durrah/al-Dura incident, the shockingly false claims of a “massacre” in Jenin in 2002, the 2010 “Gaza flotilla” affair, the endless references to the Sabra and Shatilla massacre in any context at all even when it has nothing to do with Sabra and Shatilla implying that Israel carried it out, the various Israeli campaigns against Hamas in Gaza, and so on.
Not content with letting their own attack dogs loose, and making the most spurious and often simply false claims (for example, that Israeli shells hit a packed school in Gaza last year), the Guardian frequently opens these sorts of articles up to the commentariat below the line, in the hope, only too often fulfilled, that they will write what even the Guardian is hesitant to do.
If there is such a thing as a verbal nuclear attack against a person or country, the Guardian is premier user of that tactic against Israel and Israelis.
Now the Guardian has used the same tactic to do a hatchet job on Netanyahu prior to his speech to the US Congress last night. Even though I am among those who believe that he should not have accepted the invitation to speak on the Iran issue before Congress, especially given the way the invitation was issued, I have been appalled by the level of vituperation, hatred, personal attacks and fear-mongering that has accompanied this issue at the Guardian.
The first article regarding his current trip to the US to address Congress was printed on February 6th – Leading Democrats threaten to snub Netanyahu speech to Congress . Between that date and March 2nd, I count at least 28 articles that refer directly to his visit or do so in the context of reporting on various Israeli scandals involving the Netanyahu family in the harshest of terms.
The objective is to “prove” that he overstated his claims about Iran at the United Nations. In order to attempt to defuse what he has to say about Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the negotiations being held by the P5+1, many of the articles mock his famous presentation at the UN. For example:
An article by Tim Dowling leads with a sub-header that states: According to his predictions, we should all be dead by now .
On February 26th Simon Tisdall asked: Is Netanyahu out to foment war with Iran? , followed by the claim that the Mossad and Netanyahu did not agree about Iran’s nuclear program.
“As the Guardian revealed this week, Netanyahu has repeatedly talked up the Iranian threat in the past, making alarmist claims unsupported by Israel’s intelligence agencies. In this he was assisted by the former hardline Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who appeared to threaten Israel with annihilation.”
The articles on the nuclear enrichment program rely on the extraordinarily fortuitous timing of Qatar’s Al Jazeera release of a purportedly secret document about Iran’s enrichment program provided to South Africa by the Mossad on October 22nd 2012. One has to assume that Al Jazeera, and possibly the Guardian, held it back in order to time its release for maximum effect on his visit to Washington.
On February 23rd, the Guardian wrote:
“The cache, which has been independently authenticated by the Guardian, mainly involves exchanges between South Africa’s intelligence agency and its counterparts around the world. It is not the entire volume of traffic but a selective leak”.
But are we expected to believe that these revelations just happened to land up in the Guardian’s hands, thanks to a close relationship between Qatar’s Al Jazeera and the Guardian, just in time to be used in the campaign against Netanyahu’s address to Congress? Or were they withheld to serve the Guardian’s political campaign against Israel and Netanyahu for the most appropriate occasion?
The Guardian builds its case around this extract from the portion that was supposedly provided to the SSA by the Mossad, for no apparent reason (ask yourself why the Mossad would provide information to South Africa, of all countries):
Are these yellowed pages, stamped “Al Jazeera”, and apparently printed on a teletype machine even real?
Even if real, the information supposedly provided by the Mossad to South Africa (why? For what purpose?), a country whose ministers refuse to even visit Israel, differs principally in timing rather than intent and potential from the simple and effective bomb cartoon Netanyahu presented – which certainly had one effect: everyone remembers it.
Paragraph 1, not shown by the Guardian, indicates that “Iran is making great efforts to activate the IR40 reactor (which is expected to produce military-grade Plutonium) as quickly as possible”:
And, in summary, the document closes with another paragraph indicating that the Mossad believes that Iran could move immediately to renew work on nuclear weapons if it chooses:
If you read the whole document that Al Jazeera provided, and if you believe it is real, it is different in detail but does not actually contradict Netanyahu’s claim that Iran is working to have the capability to produce nuclear weapons at short notice when the time comes and the decision to produce weapons should not be left in their hands.
In typical overkill mode, the Guardian ran with this story three times in one day:
Why would they do this?
The objective is to paint Netanyahu as a warmonger hoping to bring down destruction on a country (with Cuba and Venezuela, one of the Guardian’s examples of what a country should be) that has no intention of attacking Israel. But even the Guardian must know by now that the Iranians wage war by proxy – through Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel directly, and through the Shia majority of Iraq against Sunni Muslims in Iraq and Syria.
How reliable is their source, Al Jazeera?
Internal SSA papers purportedly obtained by Al Jazeera and passed to the Guardian accuse Israel of attempting to dry up the Nile (!) with a kind of “water sucking plant” – apparently a tamarisk.
On February 25th the Guardian’s Seamus Milne provided a video of some dried up ground, repeating the bizarre claim that the Mossad is drying up the Nile (does he have any idea how much water flows through the Nile, one wonders?). It is reminiscent of the Egyptian conspiracy theories about Israel selling contraceptive chewing gum to unsuspecting Egyptians, or training attack sharks to drive tourists away from Sharm el Sheikh:
Leaked spy cables obtained by al-Jazeera and the Guardian claim Israel has been trying to sabotage Egypt’s water supply with water-sucking plants for decades. Once in place, the river Nile would begin to dry up. In fact it may already have done, according to one intelligence report, which claimed the plant can ‘significantly reduce the volume of water that reaches Egypt’. Other cables reveal most of the spies’ work is far from the glamour of Bond movies
Not content with one reference, Milne and Ewen MacAskill pen another article on the same day that presents the same fatuous conspiracy, distancing themselves from the report, yet managing to present it as if they believe it might represent an actual Mossad operation:
The allegation against Mossad could be true or preposterous. Either way it offers an insight into the thinking of intelligence agencies. If true, then Mossad is guilty of reprehensible tactics. If untrue, the South Africans are guilty of naivety in presenting this as fact.
This is like the famous Middle Eastern joke about the man who claims that his friend’s sister is a whore – even when his friend has no sister.
In another example of Al Jazeera’s investigative prowess, it hastened to republish the claim by the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, that Israel had deliberately flooded Gaza by opening its dams in the Negev. Of course, there are no dams in the Negev and Al Jazeera actually retracted the claim (at least in this respect, the Guardian could follow its lead and learn to apologize for its lies about Israel). One of those commenting below the line (see snap shots of comments below) had no trouble repeating this outlandish lie.
With mad, over the top claims like these from its source, can the Guardian really be the one mocking Benjamin Netanyahu for holding what they think is an unfounded opinion – or a simple cartoon?
Of course, one of the Guardian’s goals is to whip up the desired anti-Israeli, anti-Netanyahu responses from its eager below the line commenters. It did not have to be concerned. The usual foul accusations were flung at Israel, and ad hominem attacks on Netanyahu were the order of the day. A visitor from Mars reading the comments below the line might be compelled to take out his ray gun and – well, wipe such a wicked country off the map, to coin a phrase:
Netanyahu is an existential threat to Israel (how?) – but Iran is not:
Perhaps we ought to deal with a sociopathic Netanyahu permanently before he singlehandedly starts WW III?
All he wants is war:
Iran – the peace-loving country – never at war for 200 years – Netanyahu lies about nuclear weapons:
200 years – or 300? Is the “Zionist empire” is behind ISIL?
Iran – supporter of global terrorism – is a light unto the nations unlike Israel’s moral degeneracy:
The apartheid libel now attached to “floodgate” – note the specificity of the details – it happened at night, it wiped out 80 homes and many farms with no warning – “I only saw it reported on Al Jazeera”: