Guardian photos of the week: Gaza and Syria. Case study in ‘disproportionality’

The Guardian’s institutional hostility to Israel is in part driven by their near obsession with the plight of the Palestinians – a story almost always framed, regardless of the facts, in terms of the latter’s suffering at the hands of the former.  This disproportionate focus was evident in our review of their ‘Photos of the Week‘ series, which they describe as “The best photographs in news and culture from around the world”.

Our survey of this series since March 31st – when the Hamas-led ‘Great March of Return’ began – found that 31 photos depicted scenes from the weekly Gaza border riots.

(This count doesn’t include photos related to other non-protest related Gaza violence – such as IDF responses to Hamas rocket attacks – or events in the West Bank. If we were to include such photos, the count would be significantly higher.)

In contrast, the Guardian published a mere 21 photos depicting the Syrian Civil War over the same 10 month period.

To get a sense of the scale of this imbalance, note that the Gaza riots have claimed 209 Palestinian lives, whilst roughly 16,000 Syrians died during that time, with another 800,000 or so driven from their homes (extrapolating from 2018 totals as reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights).

Additionally, whilst four photos from the Gaza riots were used by Guardian editors as their featured photo of the week, no Syrian photos were featured.

Here are the 31 photos from Gaza – most of which, as you’ll see, clearly portray the rioters in a sympathetic, even noble, light. 

Jan. 12, 2019

This caption, and many others, falsely frame the protests as a legitimate demand for the ‘right of return’ to “their homeland”, and ignore the fact that these violent protests are orchestrated by Hamas, an internationally proscribed terror group. 

Dec. 15, 2018

This propagandistic photo turns the IDF’s attempted use of non-lethal force against rioters approaching the border into something sinister.


Dec. 8, 2018

Here’s more unintelligible language about Palestinian refugees, obfuscating the fact that there are only an estimated 20,000 or so actual Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war still alive. 


Nov. 10, 2018.

Note how the goal of the protests is different in this caption.  We’re informed here that it’s about the blockade, not the ‘right of return’.

Nov. 3, 2018


Oct. 20, 2018

Oct. 6, 2018

Sept. 29, 2018

Sept. 15

Sept. 15, 2018

The photo actually represents an example of the Palestinians’ cynical use of children as human shields during the riots – a dynamic the British media has almost entirely ignored.

Sept. 8, 2018

Sept. 8, 2018

Sept. 1, 2018

More language on the Palestinians’ (non-existent) “right” of return.

July 7, 2018


June 23, 2018


June 16, 2018

June 9, 2018

June 2, 2018

May 26, 2018

More “right of return” language.

May 19, 2018

Another photo showing that Palestinians brought children close enough to the protests to be exposed to tear gas.  Indeed, as you can see, children featured heavily in the photo series. In contrast, the role of Hamas and other terror groups in organising and carrying out the violence was ignored. 

May 12, 2018

May 12, 2018

More ‘right of return’ language.

May 5, 2018

More highly misleading language on Palestinian ‘refugees’. 

May 5, 2018

April 28, 2018

April 28, 2018

April 21, 2018

April 14, 2018

April 14, 2018

Women featured heavily in the Guardian’s photos.

April 7, 2018

April 7, 2018

More ‘right of return’ language in a caption accompanying an evocative photo of a Palestinian child ‘protester’.

Related Articles


12 replies »

    • Oh the inhumanity of the Israelis. How dare they tempt them when they have such issues with obesity and diabetes

  1. Hi Adam,
    you write ” Though it wasn’t the Guardian’s intent, the photo represents an example of the Palestinians’ cynical use of children as human shields during the riots “. I disagree. Of course it is the Guardian’s intent.

  2. The reason for the imbalance is clear. The journalists, and everyone else in the region, know that Israel does not target journalists and cannot censor anything from the Gaza side of the border. They also know that, should things get difficult for them in Gaza, Israel will shelter them. It is the same reason that Israel has the largest contingent of foreign journalists in the region: it is the only country there that respects freedom of the press, even if what they report is distorted or outright false (so long as it does not impact on national security, it is not an issue for the state but for private libel actions).
    If Israel were indeed like Syria or Lebanon, or pretty much any other Arab country, I suspect the number of photographs would decrease accordingly. That said, all these so-called journalists are doing is really playing to the existing prejudices of their audience who are apparently not interested in reality as they are in reading stories or seeing pictures of Jews who seem to be doing bad things. Superficially for the Europeans, it is part of their msiguided way of dealing with the shame the Holocaust has placed on their civilization – which is related to their hectoring about how it is the Jews who have somehow not taken the correct lessons (whatever that may mean) from the Holocaust. Below the surface, what we are witnessing is simply the result of centuries of antisemitic indoctrination, first through the Catholic and then Protestant churches and later though politics, that makes the European public such fertile ground for such credulous reporting.
    Bottom line, these stories say far more about the journalists and their audience’s world view than anything real about Jews and Israel. What to do remains the eternal conundrum. You can’t put the Western world on a couch even if its antisemitism is a form of mental derangement.

  3. How can we blame Guardian when the Palestinians are so picturesque?.
    Look at the opportunities that the contrast of the strong light and the smudge fires present. Look at the dramatic clothing. We could be in a medieval drama.

    Virtue has no visual value. The Israeli soldiers in their drab uniforms, in their sniper’s nests balancing so very carefully what and when to shoot may be moral but they look rather boring and too strong for sympathy. Who cares that they choose their targets with such parsimony so that at least 80% of the dead are known terrorists, as admitted by El Zahar?

    Who cares that the Palestinians are bandits, raiders, would be murderers filled if we believe their leaders, with evil intent? They look so compelling. They have such a good story and they are fighting the Jews!

  4. The Guardian is calling Israel the “Palestinians'” homeland (see the last photo). I’d say that’s a “tell” that the Guardian favors the destruction of Israel.
    It is a bit surprising to see them selling wholesale such big lies, but then again, they are Europeans (the civilization that imposed that name on the land of the Jews in the first place) in cahoots with the Arabs of no special nationality who fairly recently usurped the name. I believe it was Col. Richard Kemp that called the propaganda campaign against the tiny state of Israel the biggest smear campaign in history. I believe he is right.
    They’re certainly not going to tell the truth, i.e., that this isn’t about land per se, but about Arab/Muslim hegemony and contempt for Jews. They have fully taken up, if not taken over, the Arab cause. They will vilify Israel and by extension the Jewish people no matter how much misrepresenting and lying it takes. This is antisemitism.