Oliver Holmes has been the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent for nearly two years, yet, as he shows in a recent article on the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab, he still fails to grasp some basic facts about the holy city.
As is often the case when reporting on anti-Israel NGOs, the Guardian article reads more like a HRW press release than anything resembling professional journalism.
The truncated quote significantly alters the true meaning and significance of the prime minister’s words, and thus fails to adhere to the Editors’ Code, which demands that newspapers avoid publishing inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.
In a classic case of burying the lede, the Guardian obfuscated the fact that the only baby among the triplets born in the Jerusalem hospital to have survived did so because she received intensive state-of-the-art medical care for six months – the same exact level of care that a Jewish baby would have received.
As pro-Israel LGBT rights activist Scott Piro argued previously on these pages, the real queer foes are those (like the Guardian Jerusalem correspondents) who consistently ignore the horrors committed against LGBTs in the Palestinian territories – and throughout the Middle East – in order to satisfy their readers’ malign obsession with the world’s only Jewish state.
We of course are not optimistic that the Guardian will head our advice and begin viewing Palestinian choices as an important factor in analysing the conflict, in part because the ideology they’re institutionally wedded to demands a narrative in which Palestinians exist solely as passive victims of Israel, the only party that matters.
It seems not to have occurred to the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent that those who promote Israel’s cause, and submit “relentless complaints”, may be making reasonable arguments and could impart information about the region he wasn’t aware of or provide perspectives he hadn’t previously considered.
Much like the apartheid smear, the Guardian’s use of the word ultranationalist in this context serves one major purpose: to reinforce the Corbyn-style left narrative which suggests that Zionism is illegitimate and that Israel – the most progressive state in the Mid-East – is not only moving ‘dangerously right’, but arguably lurching towards fascism and, thus, represents a state beyond the pale.
The cruel and inhumane treatment of Palestinians by Palestinian leaders, and the misery they impose upon the population by their strict adherence to an extremist ideology which prioritises the hatred of Jews and Israel over all else, isn’t the story the Guardian wants to tell. To tell such a story would require viewing Palestinians as not just victims, but as moral agents whose decisions impact their society’s economic and political outcomes, a story that those in thrall to the facile and reductive victimological explanations for complex problems are loath to tell.
Contrary to the dominant narrative, the continuing Israeli occupation is not the cause of Palestinian terrorism. It is the result of Palestinian terrorism. But, as long as Palestinians are not taken seriously as agents of their own fate, and are treated instead merely as passive victims of Israel, this an important causation shaping the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue to elude British news consumers.
If the Guardian reporter wanted to really meditate upon what Jesus would think of the modern Jewish state, he could explore the state’s record in safeguarding the rights of its Christian community, and how this contrasts with the persecution of Christians in the rest of the Mid-East. Or, more relevant to the topic at hand, he could report on the state’s internationally recognised advances in water technology, such as desalination.
Jerusalem correspondent Oliver Holmes has offered something akin to a master class in how the Guardian – by use of selective, distorted and at times outright false information – skews what are ostensibly ‘straight news stories’ to promote the pro-Palestinian agenda and paint Israel in the worst possible light.
You don’t need to be a journalist, Mid-East analyst or expert of any kind to come up with a list of practical steps ‘protesters’ participating in the Hamas organised Great March of Return can take to save Palestinian lives. Here are just a few:
1. Stop firing at soldiers on the border.
2. Stop throwing grenades and other explosive devices at soldiers on the border.
3. Stop attempting to damage the security fence and infiltrate into Israel in order to kill Jews.
Yet, despite Hamas well-documented history of using such putatively ‘civilian’ structures for military uses, the Guardian largely ignored the IDF’s statement, and parroted Hamas claims the IDF targeted what was merely a cultural centre. In three articles, encompassing over 2500 words of text, the Guardian devoted a mere four sentences, and 173 words, to the Israeli position.
Once again, the Guardian has denied readers the full story, omitting crucial details, failing to provide relevant context and erasing nuance – all of which helps advance the desired Guardian narrative, one which invariably imputes maximum Israeli malevolence to any dispute between the two parties.
Contrary to the Guardian Jerusalem correspondent’s claim, Hamas has not “softened” its founding charter’s rejection of Israel’s existence, nor has it abandoned its promotion of violence to achieve this end.
The fact that 10 out of the 16 Palestinians killed since Friday have been verified by the IDF as members of terrorist groups, or that the border protests have included the throwing of Molotov cocktails, the planting of EIDs and – in at least two cases – shots fired at Israeli forces hasn’t hampered the desired media narrative: a ‘disproportionate’ Israeli response to ‘peaceful’ Palestinian protesters.
The Guardian error is an important one, because the erroneous claim that Israel is ‘confiscating church land’ lends credibility to an outrageous statement by church leaders – quoted in the report – which outrageously compares the government’s behavior to “laws enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe”.
The suggestion in the EU report that the Jewish “narrative” is being promoted “at the expense of other religions” represents the opposite of the truth, as Israel continues to safeguard Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, whilst Palestinian leaders continually deny Jewish history in the holy city and incite their people to view any Jewish presence on Judaism’s holiest site as an intrusion onto an exclusively ‘Muslim’ site.