Guardian covers for Palestinian extremism during Boris Johnson’s Israel visit

Journalists increasingly insists that their role is not to report fairly and accurately irrespective of their personal political beliefs, but rather tocomfort the afflicted and afflict the powerful’ – in  a sense, showing solidarity with those perceived to be powerless and “aggrieved”.

The Palestinians are of course the immutably ‘aggrieved’ party within the media’s Israeli-Palestinian tale.

In this mix, not only do many foreign journalists covering the region feel it is their moral duty to report events though the lens of the Palestinian (victim) narrative, but that they must obfuscate evidence of Palestinian racism, intolerance and extremism.

The Guardian’s coverage of the row over London Mayor Boris Johnson’s visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories – particularly the manner in which their Jerusalem correspondent covered two incidents surrounding his trip – provides a perfect example of such advocacy journalism.  

The first incident we’re focusing upon involves outright discrimination by a Palestinian NGO (Palestine Business Women’s Forum) which was to host the mayor.  As the The Jewish Chronicle (The JC) reported, Noga Tarnopolsky, a Jewish Israeli reporter for The JC covering Johnson’s visit, was banned from attending the NGO’s meeting with the mayor simply because she’s Israeli.

Tim Shipman, political editor of the Sunday Times, who was also covering Johnson’s trip, put it well:

“As far as I’m concerned, journalists are citizens of the world and to prevent any reporter from doing their job in an impartial and independent fashion, whatever their nationality, is absurd.”

The second incident involves the subsequent decision by two Palestinian NGOs, including Palestine Business Women’s Forum, to cancel meetings with Johnson due to statements he made on the trip critical of BDS.  Johnson’s anti-BDS views caused such an uproar that he was reportedly told that, based on threats of violence against him on social media, his security could be at risk if he went ahead with the meetings.

To sum up: Palestinians violated two fundamental principles of political freedom:

  • They denied access to a journalist due to her nationality and/or religious background.
  • They responded to Johnson’s contrary political views not by engaging in an argument with him, but by dis-inviting him and creating an atmosphere whereby his physical safety couldn’t be guaranteed.

So, how did the Guardian’s Peter Beaumont – who presumably supports absolute freedom of the press and free speech more broadly – cover the row?

First, he completely ignored the Palestinian discrimination against a Jewish-Israeli reporter.  

Additionally, he framed the dis-invitation and threats of violence against Johnson not as an offense against the principles of free speech and a free press, but as a faux pas by mayor known for his “flippancy” and “hyperbolic enthusiasm for Israel”.

Beaumont also conveniently omitted the part of Johnson’s statement to the media where he noted one other fact inconsistent with the Guardian narrative on boycotting the Jewish state. As The Independent, Daily Mail, and other papers noted, Johnson reminded Palestinians that Mahmoud Abbas himself “said very clearly and several times that he was opposed to a boycott of Israel.”

Beaumont would likely be familiar with Abbas’s opposition to BDS, as the Guardian reported the news when the story broke in late 2013.

But, of course, this is more than simply one example of a biased journalist covering for Palestinians based on his personal sympathy for their political cause. Rather, it’s a small part of a larger pattern, prevalent in within the opinion elite, of denying Palestinians moral agency and failing to hold them to the same political standards Israelis are held to – a view which demands that Palestinians only exist as passive victims of Israeli oppression and Western arrogance.

Whatever you say about Boris Johnson, his rejection of such a patronizing view of Palestinians almost guaranteed such coverage by the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent. 

If Beaumont and other reporters based in the region want to be a political activists that’s of course their right. However, those who read such reports from Israel and the Palestinian territories must understand that what they’re reading is advocacy, not professional journalism as it’s normally understood. 

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24 replies »

  1. Don’t forget the Guardian Editor is Kath Viner, most famous for co-writing “My Name is Rachel Corrie” a romanticisation and sanctification of a hardline ISM human shield activist, and a demonisation of Israel for driving a massive removal van size tractor which didn’t see her standing recklessly in its path, so she was killed.

    • Better known as Darwin Award winner “My Name is Saint Pancake”, who was egged on to stand infront of an oncoming tractor, by herself. No one else was dumb enough to play chicken. Her colleagues stayed safely back to take photos.

  2. Each and every article concerning Peter Beaumont is evidence that he is not a journalist, and the Guardian is not a newspaper, but just apologists for third worldish racist thugs and murderers.

  3. “As far as I’m concerned, journalists are citizens of the world and to prevent any reporter from doing their job in an impartial and independent fashion, whatever their nationality, is absurd.”

    Good to see that Israel never places restrictions on the movements of journalists at any time during it’s conflicts.

  4. Does MFer control the Jews, or do the Jews control MFer?

    Dance for us, MFer! Like a monkey on a music box!

    Tell us MORE! And MORE!! And, of course, MORESY MORE!!!!!

    Because while you think you’re doing it, it is we who demand it.

    Palestinian society is truly sick
    November 10, 2015

    Today, 2 children – a 12-year old and a 13-year old – stabbed an Israeli at a light rail station in Jerusalem.

    What causes a 12-year old to want to risk his life just to have a chance at wounding a Jew?

    Incitement is part of the problem, but it is not the main issue.

    True, Palestinian news outlets and social media are filled with photos, videos, songs and cartoons that all advocate murder and terror, images that make heroes of the attackers and that dehumanize the victims.

    But to truly understand the sickness that is Palestinian society, you need to look beyond the words and images and music. You need to look at what is not being said.

    You will not find any examples of people telling children not to attack Jews. You won’t find any stories of parents who try to raise their kids to respect all human beings. You will not find any stories about Israeli victims. You will not see anything about teachers telling their students that their lives are too valuable to waste on randomly stabbing people. You won’t find anyone saying that murder is bad no matter who does it.

    You won’t find a single voice opposed to the current wave of children sacrificing themselves for a chance to stab Jews.

    If there has been any opposition to children stabbing Jews in Palestinian Arab media, I have yet to see a single example. On the contrary, the stories are neutral at best and often cheerileading – and then using Israeli efforts to protect themselves as reason to encourage more attacks.

    I am not saying that Palestinian Arabs are all united in their support for sending their children out on suicide missions. I have no doubt that most parents are aghast at the idea that their kids might join the fad.

    But because of the sick nature of Palestinian society, publicly coming out against terror is simply not possible. There is far more fear of saying anything against the politically-correct message of supporting terror than there is of the “oppressive occupation” itself.

    By any measure, Palestinian Arabs are better off than their neighbors in Egypt or Jordan. They consider checkpoints to be the height of oppression while hundreds of thousands of their neighbors are being slaughtered. Their society is based on victimhood, not on overcoming obstacles.

    There are independent media outlets in the territories – but none of them to my knowledge have been the least bit critical of the violence. Instead, they are filled with articles and op-eds supporting it and attacking Israel for defending themselves.

    There are no contrarian voices, meaning that the message of terror is unopposed.

    No one will point out this sickness. Arabs cannot say it out loud for fear of being labeled Zionist. The mainstream media cannot say it out loud for fear of being labeled racist or biased. So the real elephant in the room – that Palestinian society itself is the reason peace is impossible – cannot be discussed.

    Incitement is bad enough. But the utter lack of any opposing viewpoints is what shows that Palestinian society is rotten to the core.

    • “What causes a 12-year old to want to risk his life just to have a chance at wounding a Jew?”

      You obviously are unaware of occupation, Israeli soldiers, house demolitions, crop burning, livestock killing … you need to become aware.

      • You obviously are unaware of occupation, jihad, Islamofacist soldiers dressed as civilians, WTC demolitions, crop burning, livestock killing, beheadings, stonings, … you need to become aware of your brain damage.

      • Farmer your posts are becoming increasingly incoherent.

        Is it because your attempt to troll while pretending to live in the West is too difficult for someone with your obviously limited mental capabilities?
        Or, is your howling at the Moon getting to be more of a problem?
        Or, is your anti-Semitism boiling over causing your psychosis and detachment from reality to get worse?