Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Anti-semitic anti-Israel propaganda delivered to Birmingham homes

"Slaney St Free" - (described on their website as a "Birmingham based democratic news co-operative") is a free monthly newspaper delivered to homes throughout Birmingham. It is not clear who funds it, as the website 'about' link is empty. The September edition - delivered to the home of a friend - has the Palestine flag on its cover and contains some of the most vicious anti-Israel propaganda I have seen outside of Muslim countries - mixed in with good old-fashioned anti-semitism.

The article here by Robert Brenchley called the "Cleansing of Palestine" repeats all the usual well-known lies and blood libels (including the infamous maps that lie) and inversion of reality (whereby it is the Jews who are apparently racist and terrorists and
"Israel has had opportunity after opportunity to make peace and settle the conflict, and has thrown away every one of them."). But it also contains some fairly novel material. For example, it misquotes a fringe Israeli politician and concludes that the policy of the Government of Israel is to commit a Nazi-style genocide against the Palestinians. And it claims that the Jewish suffering in the Holocaust was not only not unique, but "was one of many genocides that resulted from the spread of the European empires".  This is the kind of material that is especially being used to target and brainwash students.





Tuesday, September 23, 2014

George Mason University student supports ISIS beheading of Stephen Sotfloff because "he was an Israeli - part of Mossad"

This video of MRCTV’s Dan Joseph trying to get American University students to sign a petition (on 11 September) to support ISIS is currently doing the rounds. Most of those who sign are jerks who know nothing about ISIS and will sign anything that is presented as "anti-war" rhetoric. But, frighteningly, one girl who eagerly signs the petition clearly knows very well who they are. At 1.17 she says (about beheaded Jewish journalist Stephen Sotloff):

"Have you seen the Stephen guy the journalist (who got beheaded) .. he was actually an Israeli and part of the Mossad" ...
At 1.49 (after showing some other people) the video shows the same girl saying
"every religion has their moments ..don't even get me started on what the Christians did to non-believers".

Monday, September 22, 2014

Michael Connarty MP: not an antisemite?


When a member of the public wrote to Michael Connarty (Labour MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk) after he had appeared at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign asking him politely whether he supported a two-state solution he accused the writer of being an Israeli spy.
.
I have been asked to forward the following update:
Well well.....I have had another email from Michael Connarty MP.

Please please do share my posts on this man - he is a real anti semite and is urging people to boycott Israel, and in so doing violating official Labour policy.

Perhaps when I told him that I was referring his rude one word reply to Ed Milliband he realised he'd better write a 'proper' response.

Just to recap: this is the man who accused a member of the British public of being an 'israeli government spy'.

Here is his latest email to me:

"What amazes me about the kind of twisted vitriol in E mails such as yours is that it reveals a sad bitterness born of prejudice as much as paranoia.
I have no prejudice against any person or group because of their belief or ethnicity. In particular I have no prejudice against people of the Jewish faith. I judge nations and groups as they behave. I do find those who claim anti semitism in any criticism of the disproportionate and murderous behaviour of Israel tiresome."
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


And here is my response to him, which I have just sent:

You claim to have no prejudice against Israel - yet you hold her to a different standard than the rest of the planet.

You claim not to be an anti semite - yet accuse an ordinary member of the British public of being 'an Israeli government spy'.

You refer to all the tragic deaths in Gaza as being those of 'innocent civilians' - yet even HAMAS admits now that most of those killed were their own TERRORISTS.

You claim to not be anti semitic - yet you condemn the Jewish state for defending herself against an openly genocidal terrorist group.

Nice try.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guess which Israelis and Jews ARE welcome at the LSE's Middle East Centre..


Yesterday I reported about Israelis not being eligible for scholarships at the LSE's Middle East Centre. This does not mean that Israelis and Jews have no place there. In fact, I can report that there are some Israelis and Jews who ARE welcome .... just those who happen to be anti-Zionists who also support the academic boycott of Israel. Indeed, in the next few weeks the Centre is hosting major presentations by two of the worst of such people: Smadar Lavi (on 27 October 2014) and Joel Beinin (on 4 November 2014) who are not just classic "self-hating Jews" but also archetypal examples of the very worst kind of deranged, pompous, self-righteous academics:

Smadar Lavie describes herself as an "Arab Jew residing in Israel" (although she actually works at the University of Berkeley California). You can read about her here (on the well named "Pathetic Assholes Conspiring to Boycott Israel" website). She has managed to create her own special category of extremist ultra-leftist anti-Zionist "Mizrahi" feminism. She is a regular contributor to the anti-Israel blog Electronic Intifada and she uses her Israeli nationality to deligitimize Israel publicly claiming it is an apartheid state. Here is her own report of her presentation last week to the antisemitic Irish-Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The Jewish anti-Israel (and some claim antisemitic) website Mondoweiss  published a favourable review of her latest book which is the subject of her talk entitled: "Mizrahi Mothers, Wrapped in the Flag: Ultra-Nationalism, Apartheid, and the Divinity of Bureaucracy in Israel".

To give you a feel for the academic pomposity, hatred, and downright lies of Lavie here is a letter she had published in the Guardian in 2005 supporting the academic boycott of Israel. It ends with the assertion
"...Israel's academics perpetrate and benefit from the systematic discrimination against Israel's 70% non-European majority (48% Mizrahim and 22% Palestinian). Israel's Ashkenazi "post-Zionist" professors, brandishing their progressive politics as they use Mizrahim and Palestinians for grantsmanship and as career advancement tools, are just the cynical tip of this apartheid iceberg"

Joel Beinin (a Professor at Stanford University) is a leading figure in the Israel boycott campaign. Here is his recent article on the Mondoweiss blog criticising those who argued against a boycott, but even more revealing is this video interview conducted with him during the recent Gaza conflict where his support for Hamas and contempt for Israel are overwhelming (at 27:37 he calls Israeli teenagers "Nazis"). Richard Millett wrote about a previous talk by Beinin in which he said (of Israel's attempt to improve accommodation for Bedouins in the Negev) that this was “putting them into what would effectively be concentration camps.”  His talk at the LSE is entitled "High-Risk Activism and Popular Struggle against the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank".

Sky News' increasingly obsessive anti-Israel agenda


As you can see from the report here at Harry's Place, the Deputy News Editor of  Sky News Arabia (Jessy El Murr) refuses to allow any report from the Israeli perspective and believes that the Israelis have surpassed not only the evil of the Nazis but the worst evil in the world by "miles and miles and miles and more miles".

But the author of the article makes the mistake of assuming that Sky News Arabia is not at all representative of the main Sky News franchise.  She clearly has not been following the main Sky News' coverage of Israel since 2005 (when Israel-hating James Murdoch** took over). Here are some examples of stories about Sky News bias that I have written over the years. Their systematic anti-Israel bias is actually worse than the BBC and, unlike the BBC, they normally ignore formal complaints completely.
** See, for example: Murdoch, Son differ sharply over Israel,   Saudi Prince endorses anti-Israel Murdoch son to head FOX News empire.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Israelis barred from applying to the LSE's Middle East Centre Scholarship Programme


In 2010 I reported on how the new Middle East Centre at the prestigious LSE (London School of Economics) eradicated Israel from the map (literally), and how leading members of the Centre's managment team supported an academic boycott of Israel.  Despite many subsequent assurances that the map was an error and that the Centre "provides balanced and informed analysis of the region ...and is committed to rigorous research and scholarship with the scrupulous preservation of its academic independence" the Centre does not allow Israelis to apply for its Masters Scholarship Programme. Indeed the LSE's web page specifies:

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Applicants must be nationals of an Arab League member State: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, occupied Palestinian territory, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria*, Tunisia, UAE, Yemen.
* Although Syria’s membership to the Arab League has been suspended, applicants from Syria are still eligible to apply.

*************************
So it appears that the 'balance' which the LSE Director spoke about still does not include an Israeli viewpoint, which is curious since most of the Centre's "world-leading research" is about the Arab-Israeli conflict, since academics and researchers at the Centre claim that Israel is central to the 'problems' of the Middle East.

I would be interested to know if the Programme is legal, let alone acceptable within LSE's Charter.

There are other ongoing issues about the Centre's anti-Israel stance that I hope to be covering in the coming weeks. Here are the previous links:

Update: Some Israelis are welcome at the Centre ....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

BBC refuses to address complaint that it failed to cover the killing of Israeli child


On 22 August I made a formal complaint to the BBC (and also Sky News) about their failure to report on the main TV News the Hamas killing of 4-year-old Israeli child Daniel Tragerman (as covered in my story here). Here is the exact text of my complaint to the BBC:
BBC News tonight has failed to cover the very important story of an Israeli child (4-year-old Daniel Tragerman) who was killed in Israel by a Hamas rocket fired from a UN School in Gaza. BBC News has had something of an obsession with (often inaccurate) stories of children "killed from Israeli strikes on UN Schools". Yet now you are no longer interested in dead children and UN Schools associated with Gaza, even on a relatively quiet UK news day - not even in the tickertape headlines. For more details see my report here: http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/so-dead-children-associated-with-un.html
I have now had a response from the BBC (see below). As you can see they have completely ignored my specific complaint and have instead sent a boilerplate response that presumably they send to all people who they classify as 'complaining of anti-Israel bias'. Isn't nice to know that the hundreds of millions of pounds that the BBC receives annually from tax payers is not able to stretch to responding to a serious complaint such as this (although the BBC did manage to find £12 million to send 272 staff to Brazil for the World Cup final). The response is actually a very weak defence anyway of their anti-Israel bias because although they say they have mentioned all the kind of things (such as Hamas use of human shields) which presumably people have accused them of ignoring, they only provide two links to back this up. They do not address the fact that the BBC's entire TV coverage was dominated with the Hamas perspective.

Dear Mr Davidson

Thank you for contacting us about the recent escalation in violence in Gaza and Israel. We have received a wide range of feedback about our coverage of this story across our television and radio programmes and the BBC News website. In order to use our TV licence fee resources efficiently, this response aims to answer the key concerns, but we apologise in advance if it doesn’t address your specific points in the manner you would prefer.

BBC News has reported extensively on the series of rocket attacks launched by Hamas and other Palestinian militants into southern and central Israel in recent weeks. We have reported on the civilian injuries and casualties, destruction and disruption caused by the attacks in towns near Gaza, such as Ashkelon and Sderot. We have also reported on the range and capability of Hamas’ arsenal, emphasising that major urban areas like Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are also under threat from attacks.

During our coverage of Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza we have reported on efforts made by the Israel Defense Forces seeking to minimise civilian causalities. We have detailed the prior warnings given to Palestinian civilians and have reflected Israel’s claims that Hamas hide weapons in civilian areas and employ non-militants as human shields:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28245343

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28252155

BBC News has also examined the cause of the conflict, as seen by each side, including Hamas’ hostility to the state of Israel. We believe we have reported on these issues in a fair and impartial manner.

Please be assured we raised your concerns with senior editorial staff at BBC News.

Kind Regards

BBC Complaints

www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

Incidentally, Sky News never responded to my complaint other than with an automated  "Thank you for your comment".

Thursday, September 11, 2014

If the BBC reported 9/11 like it reports attacks against Israel....


11 September 2001
Arabs massacred by Americans in day of tit-for-tat violence
The cycle of violence in America spiralled out of control today when a series of violent incidents left thousands dead. Those killed are known to include many Arab and Muslim civilians. UN sources and Al Jaziera have confirmed that many of the Arabs killed were refugee children who had fled from oppression. Although an American spokesman claimed that they too suffered “many civilian deaths”, this has been denied by the UN-affiliated relief workers in the Al Quaeda organisation who maintain that the only Americans killed were military personnel and illegal settlers.
The violence started when one of five unarmed Arab civilians, who boarded a 767 aircraft in Boston, was refused permission to fly the plane, despite having a valid flying licence. The American authorities have been imposing increasingly tight restrictions on the freedom of movement of Arab civilians within the US. This humiliation to their dignity has created, not unsurprisingly, deep anger and resentment among even moderate Arabs and other Muslims. When the fully qualified pilot was denied the opportunity to work in his chosen profession, he became understandably angry. The outnumbered Arab men were then attacked by members of the crew, but what really happened next may never be known. What is certain is that all of the five Arabs were killed, along with the plane’s other occupants (primarily military and intelligence personnel along with some illegal American settlers) when the plane crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center. Al Jaziera and the UN confirmed that the building (which housed a mosque) contained many Arab refugee children, who were all killed in the attack along with a number of Muslim workers. Some illegal American settlers dressed as businessmen may also have perished.
As news of the Muslim civilian deaths became known, it is believed that Arabs on another aircraft reacted with understandable passion, battling with military and security personnel. This plane soon crashed into the south tower of the Word trade center. After this second crash the US military ordered an unprecedented grounding of all civilian flights over US airspace, thus denying all Muslims living in the US the right to travel. On hearing news of this racist attack on their human rights and livelihood, a group of Arab militants on another airplane mounted a daring tit-for-tat strike. With nothing else to lose, and in sheer desperation, the militants crashed the plane they were travelling in into the very heart of the brutal US military machine – the Pentagon killing scores of soldiers.
In an escalation of the violence - and without any United Nations mandate  - the US military responded by threatening to shoot down any airplane still flying that was piloted by Arab Muslims. This brutal, illegal and racist measure led to the final, and most outrageous act of violence of the day, committed by a group of self-styled American settler vigilantes aboard flight 93 to San Francisco. On learning that their airplane was being flown by an Arab pilot, the American settlers took it upon themselves to massacre all the Muslim Arabs on board. In the ensuing struggle the Arab pilot was savagely killed and the plane crashed into a field, killing all the occupants, many of whom were Muslim refugee children. The US military is likely to have to accept full responsibility for the final massacre, since they had given messages to the settler passengers on board flight 93 that the Arab pilots were planning to crash the plane into the White House, even though no proof of such a wild claim had been presented to the United Nations. The French and German leaders have already demanded a UN enquiry into the massacre.

See also: US response to Pearl Harbour based on its reponse to 9/11

Thursday, September 04, 2014

More antisemitic incidents in leafy London suburb


As I pointed out in my article on the irony of the anti-Semitism debate, the blood libels against Israel spouted by supposed 'friends' like Louise Mensch really are having an impact. The following two incidents (told to me by our Neighbourhood Watch rep) happened in the road next to mine last week (a leafy London Suburb). They are of a different range of seriousness, but the same poisonous source (namely the continuous blood libels against Israel):

Incident 1: Jewish family celebrating an event. A neighbour (who is unhappy that so many people are parking near his house) grabs open the car door of one of the visitors and shouts at the driver
 "You f*king Jews think you can do what you want. Well this isn't Palestine. It's a shame Hitler didn't finish the job".  
I understand the neighbour has been charged with racially aggravated assault.

Incident 2: Jewish man I know well (let's call him Joe) chatting with elderly Church-going neighbours (who Joe has known for years) and who have their grand-daughter with them. Elderly couple ask how Joe's daughter is getting on in Israel. Grand-daughter pipes up "Israel? My Mummy says that is a terrible country we must boycott".

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The irony of the 'rising anti-semitism' debate: the ignorant Louise Mensch and the Jewish News



Update: This is so important I feel I need to summarise the key point: Louise Mensch states that Israel has no right to self defence and that it kills hundreds of children as a punishment for the rocket attacks. This is as clear a case of blood libel and incitement as you could wish to see. That it was made in a Jewish publication in an article denouncing antisemitism is beyond belief.

 The Jewish News has the above full page article** by Louise Mensch about how disgraceful it is that anti-semitism is increasing as a result of the Gaza conflict and why it needs to be stopped. Neither the Jewish News, nor the ignorant Mensch*** herself, appreciates the irony of the article. Everyone with half a brain knows that the current increase in antisemitism is the direct result of the hysterical anti-Israel media and political narrative of the Gaza conflict and, in particular, the continual repetition of the Hamas propaganda and blood libel that Israel is deliberately killing hundreds of Palestinian children. Indeed - as you can see - the picture that the Jewish News uses to illustrate the anti-semitism is one of a screaming mob holding placards that state this very blood libel. The irony is that Mensch not only regurgitates this very blood libel in the article itself but also makes it clear that she believes Israel has no right of self defence at all other than to use the Iron Dome:
" I do not support the Israeli action in Gaza. Let’s get that out of the way at the start. There is not much prospect of convincing any readers here, so I don’t propose to try. (Iron Dome already kept Israel safe and defended and there are better ways to punish for rockets than killing hundreds of children). Rather I want to concentrate on the revolting stream of anti-semitism the Gaza war has unleashed."
Indeed Mensch has made quite a name for herself in the last few weeks by writing a stream of hysterical anti-Israel pieces (such as the one mentioned here) along the lines of the above paragraph. She has been particularly outraged that so few Jewish civilians were killed in comparison to Palestinians and, because Israel has refused her demand to refrain from defending itself, she believes Israel deserves to be a pariah state.

Any attempt to 'stop the current wave of anti-semitism' which fails to address the blood libels made by the media and politicians against Israel is doomed to fail. That is why anyone who says 'this has got nothing to do with Israel' is not helping. It is also why people who say "Jews should not be punished for what Israel is doing"  are actually part of the problem.  Moreover, any attempt to 'stop the current wave of anti-semitism' by bringing on board those who actually propagate the blood libels against Israel will actually lead to increased anti-semitism. That is why it was so wrong of the Board of Deputies to issue their joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain (who have been one of the prime sponsors of the blood libel in the UK) and why it was wrong for the Jewish News to give a full page to Louise Mensch. With this mentality we can expect to see people like George Galloway and Anjem Choudary invited to address meetings demanding an end to anti-semitism.

We need to make clear that examples of anti-semitism include any of the following statements:

"Israel deliberately kills Palestinian civilians" (Jewish blood libel)
"Israel is guilty of murder" (Jewish blood libel)
"Israel has no right to self-defence"  (denies the Jewish state the same right as any other state)
"Palestine must be Free" (means death to all Jews of Israel)
"Israel is an apartheid state" (blood libel against the Jewish state)
"Boycott Israel" (a call to destroy the Jewish state)

Anybody making any of those statements cannot be part of a campaign to stop anti-semitism.



** A slightly different online version to the above can be found here.

***What is rather sad about Louise Mensch is that, before the recent Gaza conflict her only public 'connection' with Israel was a positive one in that she managed to get an apology from the BBC for failing to cover the story of the massacre of the Fogel family by Palestinian terrorists.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: New Statement of Reconciliation from the Board of Deputies*

Following on from its unprecedented joint statement of reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood I can exclusively reveal below a new statement of reconciliation that the Board is issuing tomorrow with the surviving members of the German National Socialist Party and the Waffen SS.


* Satire, but the original joint statement is not much different

Wineman must resign as Chair of Board of Deputies - and the Chief Rabbi also provides comfort for Israel haters


29/8/14 UPDATE EXCLUSIVE: New statement of reconciliation now issued by the Board.

The Board of Deputies - and in particular its inept Chairman Vivian Wineman - is under fire today for signing a ludicrous joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain (a Muslim Brotherhood organisation). The statement not only treats antisemitism and 'Islamaphobia' as equal in seriousness but also suggests that Israel is equally at fault as Hamas in 'deliberately targeting civilians'.  Of course Wineman has denied that this was his understanding of the statement, but that simply confirms his naivety and ignorance.

The Jewish Community of the UK has been demanding its 'leaders' show forceful support for Israel in the light of the hysterical anti-Israel hatred and bigotry that has engulfed the country, Much of that hatred has actually been vigorously promoted by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) who have sponsored all of the major anti-Israel demonstrations that have taken place. We expected our 'leaders' not only to challenge the false narrative about Israel presented by the media and politicians but also to make clear to the public that the totally unjustified singling out and delegitimisation of the Jewish State for daring to defend itself from terrorists was, by definition, an act of antisemitism that must not be accepted. Calls to destroy Israel (which includes MCB 'Free Palestine' placards and chants of 'From the river to the sea Palestine will be free') are acts of antisemitism that must be challenged, as are boycott protests against the Jewish state and its citizens. The fact that physical antisemitic attacks have followed directly from the anti-Israel narrative only proves the importance of tackling the root cause of the problem: irrational hatred - and demonization -  of Israel.

Yet, instead our 'leaders' have chosen to side with one of the majon organisations promoting deligitimization of Israel.  That our 'leaders' failed to grasp the message was first evident at the Tricyle Theatre demonstration when all the pre-prepared signs said "Don't punish London Jews" (with the clear unwritten message that "we are not to blame for Israel's crimes"). Supporters were even told 'not to bring Israeli flags'. So, instead of sending the message  'we stand with Israel who is simply defending herself against evil', our community leaders were saying 'we sort of admit that Israel is in the wrong but there is no need to punish non-Israeli Jews for it'.

And that is precisely the kind of message (protesting about the current wave of antisemitism without calling out the Israel hatred root cause) that has been repeated by our 'leaders' ever since. Astonishingly it is the same message presented in the extremely weak article in today's Telegraph by the Chief Rabbi. Like the BoD statement (and similar ones by CST) this article provides comfort for anti-Israel bigots. The Chief Rabbi says that antisemitism "is often confused with anti-Zionism. Israel as a subject will always lead to impassioned debate." What he should have said was the reason Israel is the focus of "impassionate debate" is precisely because of antisemitism. People who single out the Jewish state for their anger are, by definition, antisemites. The Chief Rabbi's remarks simply provide comfort and cover for antisemitic bigots like George Galloway and Russell Brand who claim that they are not antisemities because they only demand the destruction of the Jewish State and not the destruction of all Jews. The Chief Rabbi also inexplicably whitewashed the Jihad motives behind the Jewish school killings in Toulouse in his article. he is presumably being advised by the BoD.

Instead of penning statements with the message "it is antisemitic to take take your anger at Israel out on non-Israeli Jews" it is about time our leaders hammered home the message that "your anger at Israel is antisemitic". For while the media, academics, and politicians are to blame for having propagated the big lie about Israel for so long, people who are so brainwashed by this lie to take to the streets and demand the destruction of Israel must still have been inherently antisemitic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Daily Mail admits error in its clumsy anti-Israel narrative

(Not actual headline! But the photo and caption is what actually appeared)

On 6 August I complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the Daily Mail publishing a photograph of an Israeli home with the caption 'Palestinians who sheltered in UN-run schools began returning to examine the widespread damage from four weeks of fierce fighting.' As you can see from the communication below the Daily Mail has acknowledged the error and corrected the caption in its online edition (for reasons of confidentiality I have removed the names of the PCC spokesman and the Daily Mail editorial spokesman, but interestingly both have Jewish names and the latter sounds Israeli!). Since the PCC asked me for my further comments before a final decision can be made I sent the following statement:

Dear XXXX

I am pleased that the Daily Mail has admitted its error. In my view, in addition to just quietly changing the caption I believe the Daily Mail should publish a statement along the lines of the following: 
On 6 August 2014 we published a photograph of an Israeli home with the caption 'Palestinians who sheltered in UN-run schools began returning to examine the widespread damage from four weeks of fierce fighting.' This error was the inevitable result of our simple narrative of "Palestinians victims, Israelis aggressors" and is symptomatic of the shoddy journalism and routine anti-Israel media bias that has characterised all media coverage of the conflict. In particular, to maintain our simple (but incorrect) narrative of the conflict we had to completely ignore the facts that a) the war was started by Hamas (a terrorist organisation dedicated to the destruction of Israel which is nevertheless the elected Palestinian government of Gaza), who also broke every one of the 7 ceasefires and used civilians as human shields throughout; b) the Palestinians launched 5000 missiles at Israel during the war causing widespread damage, mass migration, three million people confined to shelters, and economic meltdown to Israel (as well as many deaths in Gaza from some 500 rockets falling short); and c) all the Palestinian 'casualty' figures we quoted were supplied by Hamas sources that were never verified and included many victims murdered locally by Hamas. 

 Yours 


Dear Mr Davidson

I refer to your complaint against the Daily Mail.

The Commission has now received a response to your complaint from the newspaper (copied below).

As you will see, the newspaper has accepted that the photograph depicted an Israeli home, and has corrected the caption to make this clear.

Kind regards

XXXXXXXX

Complaints Officer
Press Complaints
Commission
Halton House
20/23 Holborn
London EC1N 2JD

**************************************************

From: XXXXXXX
Sent: 27 August 2014 17:20
To: XXXXXXXXX
Cc: Editorial Dailymailonline
Subject: PCC 144149

Dear XXXXXX,

Thank you for sending us the complaint from Mr Davidson and please accept our apologies for the delay in response.

Mr Davidson is quite right. Our reporter mis-captioned the photograph which shows Hebrew lettering on the bomb shelter wall.

We always strive for the highest standards in our reporting and apologise if we fell short on this occasion. We would like to assure the complainant that this matter has been followed up with the reporter in question and that his comments have been circulated for review.

We have now amended the caption and added a footnote to the article clarifying the error that was made.

I am grateful to the complainant for drawing his concerns to our attention and do hope he is now happy to consider his complaint resolved.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

Best wishes,

XXXXX

***********************************************************

The Daily Mail has been by no means the worst offender in terms of anti-Israel coverage during the conflict, but the basic news reports in every single UK paper have uniformly presented the Hamas version of events.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Responses from Press Complaints Commission: as expected a complete whitewash of anti-Israel reporting


I have had responses to two of the complaints I have recently submitted to the Press Complaints Commission (one to a series of articles over several days in the Sun, and one to a set of articles on 1 August in the Standard). The responses can be summarised as:
Newspapers have discretion to be completely biased as long as they do not write things which have been proven to be false in a court of law - and in the absence of such proof they can accept what Hamas says as being true and ignore what Israel says as being false.
I did not really expect anything different but at least I forced the newspapers to respond (which they failed to do by writing to them). The full PCC decisions appear below. Interestingly, this piece by former AP reporter Matti Friedman tells you everything you need to know about why the media refuses to report the truth about Israel.

*****************************************

Commission's decision in the case of complainant v The Sun


The complainant was concerned that four articles in the newspaper were inaccurate and misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editor's Code of Practice, and that the newspaper had breached Clause 2 (Opportunity to reply) of the Code. The complainant was concerned that the articles were biased against Israel and did not explain that the conflict started when Hamas fired rockets into Israel or highlight the suffering caused to Israelis by the rockets. He said the figure for the number of Palestinian deaths was unreliable as it came from Hamas; this should have been challenged by the newspaper. He considered the 16 July article to be misleading in that it did not make clear that the ceasefire was only observed by Israel and not Hamas. He said the 17 July article was inaccurate when it stated the Palestinians were killed by an Israeli gunboat, as in actual fact, Israel denied the attack and the evidence indicated that Hamas was to blame for the attack. He also considered the photographs in the 14 July and 15 July articles to be distorted. Lastly, he considered Clause 2 of the Code to have been breached as the newspaper had not acknowledged his complaint to the editor.

Clause 1 (i) and (iii) of the Code state "the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures" and the "the press, whilst free to be partisan, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact." The Commission firstly wished to make clear that newspapers are entitled to be partisan and to take robust, controversial editorial positions on issues of legitimate debate such as the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the newspaper's obligations to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information remained. The question for the Commission was therefore not whether the articles were biased against Israel, but whether they contained inaccurate or misleading information, or otherwise breached the terms of the Code.

The Commission noted the complainant's concern that the newspaper did not mention that the present conflict was started by Hamas; however, all the articles were written at least a few days into the conflict and reported on the incidents that occurred on a particular day. The newspaper was entitled to report on these recent events and was not obliged, in doing so, to provide a full history of the conflict. While the complainant considered the figure for the number of Palestinian deaths to be inaccurate, the 15 July article clearly stated that Foreign Secretary, William Hague, had told MPs that 173 Palestinians had died. Indeed, Mr Hague had also stated that 80 per cent of the deaths were civilians. As such, the newspaper was fully entitled to report information that had come from an official government source; this did not represent a failure to take care over accuracy. The Commission noted that the complainant said the 16 July article was inaccurate because it did not make clear that the ceasefire was only observed by Israel; however, the article stated that "Israel resumed air strikes after Hamas fired scores of rockets." This indicated to readers that Israel responded with air strikes after Hamas had broken the ceasefire.

The Commission next turned to the complainant's concern that the 17 July article inaccurately stated that the young Palestinians were killed by an Israeli gunboat. He said that Israel denied the attack and that the article failed to mention that Hamas was probably responsible for their deaths as the children were playing in an area where Hamas was firing rockets. The Commission noted that the text of the article had quoted witnesses to the incident who said that the children were killed by Israeli shells. This made clear to readers that the source of the information were witnesses in Gaza. The article had also quoted the Israeli military who said that "it was looking into the incident." This indicated that the Israelis did not take responsibility for the attack, but were not blaming Hamas at this point either. In general, the Commission considered that readers would be aware that, in incidents such as this in foreign warzones, it can be almost impossible to uncover the exact circumstances surrounding an incident. Therefore, given the fact that the newspaper had made clear its source of information and the Israeli position on the incident, the Commission did not establish a breach of Clause 1 on this point.

The Commission then addressed the complainant's concern that the photographs in the 14 July and 15 July articles had been distorted in breach of Clause 1. He believed the photographs had been staged for dramatic effect. However, the Commission noted that the complainant's concern was solely based on speculation. As he did not appear to have any direct knowledge regarding this specific photograph, the Commission was unable to establish a breach of the Clause 1.

Lastly, the Commission turned to the complainant's concern under Clause 2 of the Code, which states "a fair opportunity for reply to inaccuracies must be given when reasonably called for." The complainant was concerned that the newspaper did not acknowledge his complaint to the editor. However, as the Commission had not established any significant inaccuracies or misleading statements in the article, Clause 2 was not engaged in this case. There was no breach of the Code.


Commission's decision in the case of complainant v Evening Standard

The complainant was concerned that three articles in the newspaper which reported on the Israel-Gaza conflict breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice. The complainant expressed concern that the articles, and indeed the newspaper's coverage in general, displayed a heavy anti-Israel bias. He said two of the articles reported human interest stories from a Palestinian perspective, but the newspaper did not provide any Israeli human interest story. He considered the first article to be inaccurate as it stated that Israel broke the ceasefire, when actually the UN had stated that the ceasefire was broken by Hamas. He expressed further concern that that the Israel-Gaza conflict was the only foreign conflict reported in the newspaper that day, when there are on-going conflicts occurring in Libya, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq. In his view, this demonstrated the newspaper's anti-Israel bias.

Clause 1 of the Code states "the press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information, including pictures" and "the press whilst free to be partisan must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact." The Commission noted that the complainant considered the newspaper's general coverage to display an anti-Israel bias. The Commission emphasised that newspapers are entitled to be partisan and to take controversial editorial positions on issues of legitimate debate such as the Israel-Palestine conflict. Nevertheless, the newspaper's obligations to take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information are not negated by taking a prominent, partisan position on an issue. The question for the Commission was whether they contained inaccurate or misleading information, or otherwise breached the terms of the Code.

The Commission considered the complainant's concern that the article had inaccurately suggested that it was Israel that broke the ceasefire. It noted that on multiple occasions in the article, including the headline and the first paragraph, it had suggested that Israel was responsible for breaking the ceasefire. However, the article had also stated that "Israel suggested the tanks fired in response to a militant attack." This informed the reader of the Israeli position that they did not consider themselves to be responsible for the collapse of the ceasefire. While the complainant pointed out that the UN Secretary General had blamed Hamas for violating the ceasefire, it was unclear whether this statement was made before the newspaper went to print. In any case, the Commission considered that readers would be aware that, in incidents such as this in foreign warzones, there is significant difficulty in reporting rolling news coverage when conflicting information is being given by both sides. As such, given the fact that the newspaper had also outlined the Israeli position on the incident, the Commission did not believe readers would be misled by the article, such that a correction would be required.

The Commission lastly turned to address the complainant's concern about the newspaper's general focus on the Israel-Gaza conflict as opposed to other foreign conflicts. It made clear that the presentation and selection of material for publication was a matter for the discretion of individual editors, provided that the material was not inaccurate or misleading, or did not otherwise breach the terms of Code. In this case, it had been established that the concerns the complainant raised about these articles did not breach the terms of the Code; the fact that the newspaper had not covered other foreign conflicts as much the Israel-Gaza conflict was not an issue that fell within the Commission's remit. There was no breach of the Code.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Why has Britain's Consul-General in Jerusalem (Alastair McPhail) not been sacked?

McPhail (left) wearing his 'death to Israel' scarf; antisemitism at the heart of the Foreign Office

I have just sent this letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (foi-dpa.imd@fco.gov.uk):
As you know Britain's Consul-General in Jerusalem (Dr Alastair McPhail) was recently photographed wearing a scarf with the notorious Hamas 'death to Israel' emblem on it (namely the map of Israel covered with the Palestine flag and the message "Free Palestine").
With the whole of Israel under constant rocket attack from the terrorist Hamas government of Gaza, it is a national disgrace that Britain's most senior diplomat in Jerusalem effectively declared his support for the stated objective of that terrorist organisation (namely the destruction of the entire State of Israel). This kind of open support for Hamas's position from senior politicians is fuelling a corrosive atmosphere in the UK whereby irrational hatred of Israel (for daring to defend itself) merges with antisemitism and is leading to Britain's Jews feeling threatened and marginalised.
The more we discover about this incident the more incredible it is that Dr McPhail still retains his position. As reported here the event that Dr McPhail was photographed attending was actually hosted by Islamic Relief which is well known as a front for Hamas and other Islamic terrorists organisations worldwide, not to mention its support for Islamic hate preachers. And, according to the report, it appears that the Foreign Office is not prepared to take any action against Dr McPhail and nor is he or the Foreign Office even prepared to issue an apology.The only 'apology' has come from Islamic Relief for 'publishing the photograph' (i.e. for spilling the beans).
I would be grateful of an explanation of the Foreign Office's actions and what possible benefit there is in retaining a 'diplomat' in a post where he has made clear his total contempt and hatred for one side. I would also like to know how the British Government continues to employ within its diplomatic ranks a man who openly supports a terrorist organisation. Would you support him if he also wore an ISIS scarf, because in both ideology and practice there is nothing to distinguish Hamas from ISIS?

Friday, August 22, 2014

So dead children associated with UN Schools in Gaza are no longer of interest for the main stream media


23 Aug update on this story: The Jerusalem Post is now reporting that the IDF has retracted the claim the rocket was fired from a UN School saying the location was Hamas controlled. Since Hamas controls UNWRA I am not sure what this claim means, but it is worth pointing out that the media reports that have covered the story never included the UN school claim made by the IDF whereas they routinely accept as 'fact' whatever Hamas tells them about casualties in Gaza. 
26 Aug update: It definitely WAS a school from which the rocket was launched.

The perfect characterisation of the media's coverage of the Gaza conflict has been its obsession with (often inaccurate) stories of children "killed from Israeli strikes on UN Schools". For example, when a number of children were claimed to have been killed at a UN School in Gaza by a rocket that Hamas claimed was fired by Israel the story so dominated every main stream media that almost no other news was presented for 24 hours. The media only lost interest in the story when it was later discovered that the rocket was one that was misfired by Hamas while targetting Israeli civilians.

Today 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman was killed in Israel by a Hamas rocket fired from a UN School in Gaza.  Yet now curiously the media is no longer interested in dead children and UN Schools associated with Gaza. I have spent the last hour watching the BBC News Channel and Sky News and (on a relatively quiet UK news day) they somehow were unable to find time to mention this story at all - not even in the tickertape headlines. They did however manage to find plenty of time to cover the important story of a Koala bear rescued in Australia.

The primary argument the main stream media has used to justify its support for the terrorists of Hamas throughout the current conflict has been that "not enough Israeli civilians have died compared to Palestinians". Now they have a dead Israeli child to satisfy their desire for more Jewish blood, it appears they wish to cover it up in exactly the same way they have covered up the 350 rockets launched by Hamas against Israeli civilians in the last 48 hours.

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I've filed complaints to BBC and Sky News, e.g. here is what I wrote to Sky News Editor Adam Harding:
Dear Mr Harding

Can you explain why Sky News tonight has failed to cover the very important story of an Israeli child (4-year-old Daniel Tragerman) who was killed in Israel by a Hamas rocket fired from a UN School in Gaza.

Sky News has had something of an obsession with (often inaccurate) stories of children "killed from Israeli strikes on UN Schools". Yet now you are no longer interested in dead children and UN Schools associated with Gaza, even on a relatively quiet UK news day. I note that while you were unable to find time to mention this story at all - not even in the tickertape headlines, you did manage to find plenty of time to cover the important story of a Koala bear rescued in Australia.

Yours

Edgar Davidson
13 September 2014 Update: I have had a response from the BBC (worse than pathetic). Sky News never responded other than an automated "Thanks for your comments".

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Comparing Islamists and radical leftists

Following on from previous posts which looked at the difference between antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and what leftists really believe, it is also worth now looking at the difference between Islamists and radical leftists. As the following table shows there is clearly nothing in common between these two groups.


What Radical Leftists believe
What Islamists believe


America is evil and its power must be destroyed
America is evil and its power must be destroyed
Capitalism is evil and must be eliminated
Capitalism is evil and must be eliminated
Zionism/Israel is evil and must be eliminated
Zionism/Israel is evil and must be eliminated
9/11 was an inside job
9/11 was an inside job
Their ideology (socialism) should control every aspect of your life
Their ideology (Islam/sharia) should control every aspect of your life
No other ideology/religion can be tolerated
No other ideology/religion can be tolerated
There can only be true peace in the world when every living person adheres to their ideology
There can only be true peace in the world when every living person adheres to their ideology
The idea of the nation state is flawed - a new single world order based on their ideology is inevitable
The idea of the nation state is flawed - a new single world order based on their ideology is inevitable
International borders are an unnecessary, artificial invention created by capitalists, imperialists and Zionists.
International borders are an unnecessary, artificial invention created by capitalists, imperialists and Zionists.
Palestinians are the world’s ultimate victims
Palestinians are the world’s ultimate victims
Americans, western imperialists and Zionists are the source of world inequality and division,  and the exploitation of all Muslims
Americans, western imperialists and Zionists are the source of world inequality and division,  and the exploitation of all Muslims
Colonialism – except when it means the spread of their ideology – is evil
Colonialism – except when it means the spread of their ideology – is evil
Muslim colonialism in the west will enable their ideology to win at the ballot box
Muslim colonialism in the west will enable their ideology to win at the ballot box
All forms of social stratification must be dismantled and all forms of hierarchy must be abolished. The exception is that the leaders of the revolution will provide ultimate guidance.
All forms of social stratification must be dismantled and all forms of hierarchy must be abolished. The exception is that the leading Imams will provide ultimate guidance.
Zionists control the world banking system, which must be replaced by one based on the principles of their ideology
Zionists control the world banking system, which must be replaced by one based on the principles of their ideology (sharia)
Violence is necessary in order to enforce their ideology, and any non-believer is a legitimate target
Violence is necessary in order to enforce their ideology, and any non-believer is a legitimate target
Their ideology is the very definition of perfection and so cannot be challenged in any way. It is the only basis for correct human endeavour
Their ideology is the very definition of perfection and so cannot be challenged in any way. It is the only basis for correct human endeavour
Their ideology provides a complete blueprint for every aspect of how people should lead their lives and how societies should function
Their ideology provides a complete blueprint for every aspect of how people should lead their lives and how societies should function
Their ideology is based on communitarianism: all possessions must be shared by all - no man shall have more possessions than any other man (this is despite the fact that its most prominent advocates are among the most wealthy men in the world and fully enjoy their wealth)
Their ideology is based on communitarianism: all possessions must be shared by all - no man shall have more possessions than any other man (this is despite the fact that its most prominent advocates are among the most wealthy men in the world and fully enjoy their wealth)
The world should be governed by their ideology alone and any views contrary to their ideology must be suppressed
The world should be governed by their ideology alone and any views contrary to their ideology must be suppressed
Enemies and dissenters of their ideology must be intimidated, boycotted and ultimately ruthlessly eliminated
Enemies and dissenters of their ideology must be intimidated, boycotted and ultimately ruthlessly eliminated
Their ideology supersedes the notion of family. Loyalty to the ideology must always come above loyalty to family members.
Their ideology supersedes the notion of family. Loyalty to the ideology must always come above loyalty to family members.
Global warming fears can be used as a means for worldwide wealth redistribution to further their ideology
Global warming fears can be used as a means for worldwide wealth redistribution to further their ideology
Osama Bin Laden was a great hero for standing up to the Americans and Zionists
Osama Bin Laden was a great hero for standing up to the Americans and Zionists
George Galloway is simply a great hero
George Galloway is simply a great hero