Guardian smears Israel with a wild Palestinian accusation

A Guardian article by freelance journalist Carlton Reid (Why cycling in Palestine is a political act”, March 10) profiled a Palestinian cyclist named Sohaib Samara, who, as an example of how cycling in the West Bank for Palestinians is a putatively “political act”, made the following claim:

On one ride [in the West Bank] when he and a friend were pulled over by an Israeli army patrol, Samara says he heard the soldiers asking, in Hebrew, whether they should shoot the pair in the arms.

“I was not afraid for myself because at the end of the day, if I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die,” said Samara. “But I was worried that if I tried to defend myself or even argue [that the soldiers] had no right to stop us, they might later blow up my family’s house.”

We tweeted the journalist to ask if he attempted to fact check the wild claim that Israeli soldiers were considering shooting him.

Reid’s reply

Our reply

Additionally, as another Tweeter noted, Reid’s explanation on why he didn’t bother fact-checking the Palestinian claim makes no sense:

Moreover, the apparent credulity of the journalist and his editor in the face of Samara’s wild claim that soldiers considered shooting him for no particular reason – or that the army would have blown up his family’s house if he complained – is staggering, and provides another example of how the caricature of Israeli malevolence is ingrained in the Guardian imagination.

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27 replies »

  1. Reid is regressive left. Look at his Twitter. He also suffers from TDS. You typical English cycling activist and climate activist.

    • Reid’s bizarre attempt to justify even mentioning the accusation by the Palestinian cyclist at all has zero relationship to Trump, Trump’s deranged behavior, decisions made by Trump vis-a-vis Israel — whether those decisions are sound or unsound or some admixture — or anything else you might imagine Trump has done for Israeli interests.
      Trump will only sustain decisions that serve his whims, otherwise, he will revoke them if able to do so. Reid’s claims also have nothing to do with your own notions about cyclists, cycling activists, climate science, atmospheric physics, or climate science activists.
      Is that clear?
      There is NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER, whether as a matter of logic or empirical fact, between the gratuitous, abusive and baseless claim by Mr. Reid about the Palestinian’s claims, and the other items you shoehorned into the discussion.
      Don’t confuse the condign retribution being administered to Mr. Reid with your cant.

    • Hey David-

      You may be interested in knowing this. Anyone who uses the terms “regressive left” or “TDS” Is a right wing dipshit. These are terms created by RW dipshits for RW dipshits. As someone who is not a RW dipshit, I can tell you, those words and phrases are devoid of any real meaning.

      I will also take this moment to point out that for 8 very long years, all the RW dipshits on this particular site blamed Obama for everthing that happened, and didn’t happen, to the world and Israel in particular. So before you start dismissing concerns about the POTUS’ state of mind, and general inability to do his job, by spouting TDS, you might want to think back to how you behaved during Obama’s years.

      As for Trump, it takes quite the man to make all of America think fondly back to the organizational skills displayed by one George W. Bush. Ain’t that right, Brownie?

    • There is no necessary connection between the photos or the rest of the imagery with anyone’s political views — to establish that, you need a separate set of arguments. You might or might not be correct, but claiming someone supports an entity as barbaric as ISIS requires better evidence. As it is, it just looks like a lazy smear tactic.

      • You are right Richard, a Palestinian posting ISIS posters on his FB feed means the opposite . Thanks for the update.
        🇮🇱 🇺🇸

    • So where does this “intensely political act” get carried out? Was that West Bank County, Palestine?
      Because, I think if you refer to it as Judea, the historic and indigenous name, the whole “Palestinian” authentic/Jew foreign invader thing starts showing cracks.

  2. Dear Mr Reid,
    Instead of peddling anecdotes, could you supply the number of Palestinian cyclists reported as shot through the arms by IDF soldiers? Is it more than zero?
    Following-up, could you supply the number of Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals after road accidents? To the nearest thousand will suffice.

  3. It looks like the Guardian is going back to the bad old days of taxi-driver reporting – a person ignorant of israel and the I/P conflict but with a firmly embraced anti-israeli bias lands in israel, takes a taxi ride to Jerusalem, and writes a report based on what he or she learned from the taxi driver as an expose of the current level of israeli awfulness. This time the taxi-driver is replaced by an Arab cyclist making ludicrous claims about unverifiable and never committed Israeli atrocities.

  4. “person ignorant of Israel” — You what? I wrote the Berlitz Discover Guide to Israel. (OK, in the 1990s, but still.) I lived in Israel for a year; half of the time with an Israeli mate, the other half with Ba’al Teshuva Chassids near the Hotel. (I’m not Jewish.) I also flew into Israel during the first Gulf War. I have posted an image of my Israeli press card on Twitter. It was the press card issued to war correspondents but I was there to ride my bike and support my friends.

    I am not anti-Israel. I am open minded, and will happily talk to anyone, Israeli, Palestinian, anyone. One of the links in the article is to my Guardian piece on the Giro d’Italia in Israel for which I interviewed a Canadian billionaire who had recently made Aliyah. I didn’t get any grief for that piece even though Sylvan Adams made a bunch of unsubstantiated claims (mainly about cycling).

    • Mr Reid,
      you quoted a classic blood libel by a political player. I do not think you are antisemitic , I do think you are ignorant and flippant and did what the Guardian does every time they write about Israel.

    • Mr Reid,
      the correct thing to do would be to take “that” anecdote out of the piece now. My 2 cents.
      Unless you want to organize the next Hamas cycling event in Gaza.
      You know, cycling is political and all that. 🚴🏽‍♀️

      • Sohaib’s claim is that he feared consequences; he didn’t give any actual verifiable consequences. His arms were not shot, his house has not been bulldozed. The fear that such things happen is real. Fear is a fact, whether or not it is rational or true.

        On Twitter, many folks have responded to me by providing links that show Israel *only* bulldozes a small amount of houses. That it bulldozes any at all is the problem. Here in the UK we don’t bulldoze houses where terrorists have lived. That Israel does this creates fear; fear that was expressed in Sohaib’s claim.

        • You also in all honesty compared the cycling situation in the UK to that in a war zone.
          It is not a problem that mass murderers of civilians have their houses destroyed. The problem is Arab antisemitism which enables the random slaughter of Jews. But your comment here speaks volumes. You are an ignorant fool. That Israeli’s live in fear evidently has not occured to you. That there are no longer any Jews in Muslim nations to feel fear has also not occured to you. You Mr Reid are an ignorant left wing fool who writes a blood libel. Welcome to the Guardian.
          Now stop digging that hole you are in and ask for your blood libel to be taken down.

          • Israel destroys homes of murderers to deter terrorists and a study proves it works. Sohaib has nothing to fear about his home being destroyed, unless he decides to become an active terrorist who commits murder and he knows that perfectly well.

            Sohaib is a propagandist fabricating a “fear” and you’re helping him by repeating his fabrication in your article, even though you could easily check the facts related to demolition of terrorist homes, but you were too lazy to check.

        • Carlton Reid said:

          > Fear is a fact, whether or not it is rational or true.

          That’s why there are Checkpoints at every airport in the World where passengers, luggage, cargo are screened – to prevent another Pan Am 103, another 9/11, another attempt to bomb an inflight passenger plane by suicide bombers with bombs hidden in their sneakers or underwear or liquid “binary” bombs.

          Mr. Reid, the difference between us and biased “journalists” like yourself is that you are concerned about the welfare of Jihadis, while civilized people are concerned about the victims of terrorists.

          • “while civilized people are concerned about the victims of terrorists.”

            Edward — clearly, you didn’t read the bit where I said that I flew into Israel when Scuds started landing during the First Gulf War. I did this to be with my Israeli friends. I wrote a guidebook about Israel — I like Israel.

            Thing is, I also wrote a guidebook about Lebanon. I am not biased, I am open minded, and will listen to anybody. Jaw, jaw not war, war.

            Sadly, too many people think *their* side is right, when each side has genuine grievances. And that’s a fault on the Palestinian side as well as the Israeli side. I’m piggy-in-the-middle — and get gripes from both sides. I roll with it.

  5. As we tweeted yesterday, we’re merely objecting to Mr. Reid’s decision to include the incendiary, unsubstantiated quote. There is zero evidence of any antisemitic intent.

    • Through Reid’s poor level of journalism, he is spreading libel against Israel/Jews, which inflames antisemitism, regardless of intent. He should take responsibility and correct his article, instead of playing the victim.

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