Telegraph

Telegraph exploits Aegean Airlines flight row to suggest widespread Israeli racism


The facts so far seem beyond dispute.

One Palestinian resident of Israel and one Arab citizen of Israel were both removed from an Athens to Tel Aviv Aegean Airlines flight after dozens of Jewish Israeli passengers insisted, evidently without good cause, that they presented a security threat. 

To their credit, the Guardian published an AFP report on the incident which simply relied on the known facts.

However, some media outlets took the more predictable route.

The Telegraph’s Nick Squires (the paper’s Rome correspondent) evidently believed a straight-forward reporting of the row wouldn’t really make for a compelling story.

No, the story needed to fit into existing media narratives imputing widespread Israeli racism against Arabs to give it life.

Squires’ Jan. 6 report didn’t waste much time before jumping to the conclusion.

Palestinian authorities have demanded an investigation after a Palestinian and an Arab-Israeli were removed from a plane departing Greece after Jewish Israeli passengers insisted that they presented a security threat.

Palestinians said the incident was reminiscent of apartheid, while civil rights groups said it was a consequence of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, inciting hatred against the Arab Israeli community

So, the ‘debate’ framed by the Telegraph reporter is whether the incident suggests full-out apartheid or ‘merely’ Israeli “incitement” against its Arab community.

Then, after a few paragraphs in which Squires explains what happened on board the flight, we get the requisite quotes from completely ‘objective’ and ‘reliable’ sources – Amnesty International, Saeb Erekat and an MP from Meretz, an Israeli political party risibly characterized by Squires as a “centre-left”.

Saeb Erekat, the secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, called the decision to eject them “unjust and disgraceful.” He referred to both men as Palestinians.

“We are outraged by how two Palestinians were treated with discrimination and prejudice at the hands of the Aegean cabin crew prior to the departure of last Sunday’s flight,” he said in a statement.

“We call upon the Greek government to take strong action against this racist act, including compensation for the two Palestinian passengers.

“This appalling behaviour by the Israeli passengers is reminiscent of the worst years of the South African apartheid,” he said.

Yonatan Gher, the head of Amnesty International in Israel, said the incident was an example of how the Israeli government had incited distrust and ill-feeling towards Arab Israelis, particularly in the wake of a deadly shooting attack in Tel Aviv last week by an Arab Israeli gunman.

“People should not be surprised by such shameful acts when the prime minister stands at the forefront of incitement and the racist narrative against an entire sector of society, during the last election and now as well,” Mr Gher said.

Michal Rozin, an MP with the secular, centre-Left Meretz party, said: “The prime minister and his ministers sow fear and hate through slander and incitement, and this is the result.

“The government must understand that marking Israeli-Arab citizens as potential terrorists leads to the loss of morals and values that endangers our future as a society.”

The suggestions by Gher, Erekat and Rozin that Israeli incitement was responsible for the behavior of the passengers were likely based on completely baseless claims advanced by some (including in Haaretz) that Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech in Tel Aviv following the Tel Aviv shooting attack was racist or incited against Arabs.

Indeed, if you read the speech in its entirety, it would be difficult to determine precisely at what point the Israeli prime minister uttered a word that could be construed as racist or representing “incitement” against Arabs.

If Telegraph editors wished to publish an op-ed by Squires imputing Israeli racism based on the behavior of a small number of its citizens, that of course would be their right.  

However, let’s be clear: the piece in question wasn’t supposed to be an op-ed, or even an analysis, but ‘straight news’.

In contextualizing the incident solely by relying on hyperbolic quotes from an anti-Israel NGO, the chief Palestinian spokesperson (known for his complicated relationship with the truth) and a marginal political party know for its hostility to the prime minister, Squires fails spectacularly in his duty to provide readers with a fair, accurate and non-tendentious report.

39 replies »

  1. Fact is, I blame Europe for World War II. To be honest, I blame the Western World for Israel not being able to live a normal existence.

    So all of these Euro Journos (like Webster!) are, quite frankly, some of the worst people on the planet.

    If they want to play this game, we can play this game.

    • Kuwait would not permit Israelis to fly on their planes – and preferred to not fly to the US rather than stop their islamofascist racism.

    • @peterthehungarian –

      Re: “UK Muslims with Disneyland plans: We were barred from plane due to religion. Wgere [sic] is Amnesty and all the other assholes?”

      and @ John Kinory –

      “No Jooz, no news”

      This story was very widely reported indeed by both the US and UK media. And in almost every case, direct reference was made to Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric as an “influence” on the decision to scupper the family’s Disneyland trip.

      Amnesty (among several other “assholes”) had been unequivocal in condemning the bigotry colouring the Republican leadership campaign – with Trump singled out for particular criticism – and you might note, without any mention of “Jooz” …

      For example, Margaret Huang, Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement (@ http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/donald-trump-s-hate-filled-rhetoric-must-be-rejected):

      “Trump’s proposal [for a ‘total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’] caters to the worst instincts of ethnic and religious prejudice – the kind that marked the worst chapters of US history, including Japanese internment. All political figures should reject the scapegoating and fear-mongering at play here. Bigotry should not masquerade as a counter-terrorism measure.

      “The recent surge in anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric by candidates has nothing to do with making Americans safer. It’s about winning support by scaring the public.

      “This type of hate-filled rhetoric has no place in a society committed to freedom from discrimination. Donald Trump’s bigoted scapegoating of Muslims flies in the face of equality and religious freedom.”

      • So the authorities not allowing to board the Arab family for Disneyland are in the service of Trump and not the US and/or UK government? Now after reading your crap I certainly owe a huge apology for the assholes…
        BTW Amnesty and Ms Huang weren’t this quick to fight antisemitism but this is logical. Why should anti-semites fight Jew-hate? So to make a short story shorter you and AI have the same relevance in the fight for human rights somewhere between the Saudi and Iranian delegations in the UNHCR.

      • Some random American Jewish thoughts for Miranda in response to her hunting expedition:

        1. Trump discussed in front of Jews how it’s great to be around people who control so much money. We Jews on the Left side of the aisle didn’t particularly appreciate that bit. Didn’t make the news, though, because who cares if an American politician declares that Jews control a lot of money, amiright?

        1a. Trump using Yiddish by describing Hillary “getting schlonged” by Barack Obama also didn’t sit well with many on the Left because, you see, he was making a relationship between a large penis, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

        2. Most important, however, is that 11 American Jewish organizations have demanded the resettlement of Arab refugees in America. That despite the attacks on us, we still know the difference between Arabs who wish to harm us and Arabs who wish to get the fuck out of Syria. We can only hope that those in the latter category get over any hatred of us they may possess. This tactic is based on Trust and Care.

        3. Amnesty International in the USA isn’t as tone deaf as AI in Europe, for when I call the AI office in NY to complain about yet another idiotic pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel comment in terms of, say, the shooting of kids who stab Israelis, they mutter stuff like, “We know. We don’t like it either.”

        Fun times!

  2. This is nothing new. I get barred from flights all the time for political reasons:

    Just last month I was boarding an Air-Ziocon flight to Tel-Aviv (I’m researching the infamous 1948 Ziocon slaughter attack of Wadi Musmus) when the flight crew refused to honor my Guardian first-class flier badge. They just looked at me funny and told me it was just a picture of Seamus Milne’s head cut from a newspaper. After much shouting about apartheid I found myself in a holding cell where a large gentleman proceeded to violate my political rights with a rubber glove.

    Suffice to say I’ll be flying coach next time.

  3. ““This appalling behaviour by the Israeli passengers is reminiscent of the worst years of the South African apartheid,” he said.”

    Under apartheid, the only way Africans were allowed on planes was as the cleaning staff.

  4. Out of interest, if some air passengers had refused to get onto a ‘plane because there were Jews on board, would you be criticising world Jewry for complaining loudly about such racism?

    I notice you haven’t condemned the racist Israelis who suspected Arabs of terrorism based purely on race. I wonder why not.

    UKMW is really entering the realms of self-parody in its increasing intolerance to free speech and equality.

        • It’s truly awful, isn’t it? I mean, all you did was insinuate racism when, in actuality, none of us give a flying fuck what Saeb Erekat has to say because, well, he’s Saeb, man. A dude who makes money by not encouraging Israel’s continued existence.

          So glad this is about you, though. Because you, Gabe, are super.

            • Webster says those who don’t agree with his perspective of Middle East politics is a racist. Then Webster complains about a rude response.

              The Guardian and other Western Media highlighted by this blog space routinely make racist assertions as a way of justifying various violent acts directed at Israelis. Webster considers this blog space as wrong, or overly sensitive, or just clueless when he doesn’t agree with this blog space. Webster then wonders why people even read this blog space to begin with.

              But please don’t be rude to Webster.

              This blog is, you guessed it, about Webster.

    • Ah, the free speech whine. Nobody is censoring you, child. Time you grew up and learned to read and analyse.
      Also, when Jews blow up planes all over the shop, I’ll start talking your stupid ‘equivalence’ seriously.

        • Not sure why you cannot understand, at your age, that I made 2 very specific arguments: (1) Nobody is denying you ‘free speech’. (2) Your analogy is spurious.
          Now run along.

              • I’m not going to address points which are made with gratuitious abuse (‘stupid’, ‘little boy’, ‘Jew-hater’ etc.) thrown in. Clearly the makers of those points are not confident enough in their arguments or else they would let them stand alone.

                • Meanwhile, your points are to generalize people you don’t like as racists as you had done so earlier in this thread.

                  But I don’t want to be nasty, or rude, or even condescending to a Western Journo such as yourself.

                  Thank you for gracing us with your presence.

                • “I’m not going to address points which are made with gratuitious abuse (‘stupid’, ‘little boy’, ‘Jew-hater’ etc.) thrown in. Clearly the makers of those points are not confident enough in their arguments or else they would let them stand alone.”
                  – yup, the usual desperate gambit of the person bereft of argument who imagines himself to be morally superior while accusing Israelis of ‘racism’ without knowing the circumstances.

    • Out of interest, if some air passengers had refused to get onto a ‘plane because there were Jews on board, would you be criticising world Jewry for complaining loudly about such racism?
      I understand your logic Webber. Taking into account the more or less equal number of hijacked or exploded planes by Arab/Muslim versus Jewish perpetrators the fear from Arab passengers has the same irrationality than the fear from being downed by Jewish suicidal terrorist.
      I notice you haven’t condemned the racist Israelis who suspected Arabs of terrorism based purely on race.
      And how do you know what happened on the plane Webber – from the bullshit of Saeb Erekat? Or you have been there personally? Maybe the fear of the passengers have nothing to do with race but some other factor like the behavior of the Arab passengers? Have you read, listen, watch any personal witness account on the passengers part declaring that they suspected these fellows only due to their being Arabs?
      UKMW is really entering the realms of self-parody in its increasing intolerance to free speech and equality.
      This sentence of yours will be the textbook example of projection in future books of psychology.wit one small addition – you are not a self-parody – you are the real face of a Jew hater.