Star’s latest story portrays Palestinians as “violent”, as “terrorists”, and Israelis as “responding” to violence
No 941 Posted by fw, December 28, 2013
The Israeli rationale goes something like this: The Palestinians hate us and want to destroy our state. The Hamas government in Gaza even fires missiles into southern Israeli cities. We keep all the people of Gaza locked up in order to protect ourselves from their enmity. —Lawrence Davidson, US Historian, from his post: Snow Job About Israel-Palestine – An Analysis (23 December 2013)
A Windsor Star story, Spate of attacks on Israel in form of rogue acts by Aron Heller of the Associated Press (AP), published on December 27, 2013, prompted me to do some quick research and fire off a letter to the editor in response.
In this, Part 1 of 2, the Star’s article is presented, followed by my letter to the editor, and, lastly, by a sample of the lead-ins to four other Windsor Star pro-Israel articles published in 2013. Part 2, to follow, reveals the biased reporting style of the Star’s AP story.
1/ Windsor Star story
Spate of attacks on Israel in form of rogue acts (page 16) Windsor Star, Aron Heller, Associated Press, December 27, 2013
JERUSALEM — A spate of violent Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets in recent weeks is raising concerns in Israel that it may be on the verge of a new type of Palestinian uprising.
In contrast to previous waves of Palestinian violence, the recent incidents do not appear to be an organized effort by militant groups but rather a collection of individual acts.
Their rogue nature has made it difficult for Israeli leaders to respond or even identify their exact cause.
After years of relative quiet, Israel’s Shin Bet security service has reported a steady rise in attacks since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed peace talks in July.
In November, for instance, there were 167 attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank, compared to 136 in October, the agency said.
The past few days have been particularly dramatic.
On Sunday, a pipe bomb believed to be planted by Palestinian militants exploded on a bus in central Israel in the most serious attack inside Israel in more than a year.
The bus was evacuated moments before the blast, but the explosion caused heavy damage.
The next day, an Israeli police officer was stabbed outside a West Bank settlement and on Tuesday an Israeli civilian was killed by a Palestinian sniper in a cross-border shooting from Gaza, sparking a series of Israeli airstrikes that killed a Palestinian girl.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said the incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which are ruled by rival Palestinian governments, were unrelated, calling them “atmosphere attacks.”
But he promised that Israel would respond nonetheless.
“This is an unacceptable situation for us and despite the difficulty of dealing with an individual assailant who is incited to kill Jews, we will act with force and in other ways to harm those who try to carry out attacks,” he said.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip, located on opposite sides of Israel, are ruled by different governments.
Israel and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority are engaged in peace talks aimed at ending decades of conflict and establishing an independent state for Palestinians.
Gaza’s Islamic Hamas rulers, on the other hand, refuse to recognize Israel and call for its destruction.
Both Israel and Palestinian officials agree that violence from the West Bank is connected to the peace talks, though they pin the blame on each other.
Palestinians say the current climate is a result of brewing frustrations over the perceived lack of progress in peace talks while Israel continues to build Jewish settlements on land it claims for a future state.
On Wednesday, an Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to announce new settlement construction next week.
“Politically, there is no sign of any hope, and on the economic side there is no sign, too,” said Jihad Harb, a Palestinian commentator.
“People are frustrated by political groups who failed to bring them independence, so therefore they behave individually.”
Israeli leaders accuse the Palestinians of spreading hatred and incitement.
“The terrorist attacks against Israelis over the last few days are a direct result of the incitement and hatred propagated in Palestinian schools and media,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu.
“We are disappointed that so far President (Mahmoud) Abbas has not condemned these acts of terrorism as one would expect from a partner in peace talks.”
2/ My letter to the Windsor Star editor
(Note – I have added hyperlinks that were omitted from the letter to the Star)
Re Spate of attacks on Israel in form of rogue acts, December 27, 2013
That this Associated Press (AP) story reflects a pro-Israeli bias comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with the work of the media watchdog, If Americans Knew, founded by American freelance journalist Alison Weir.
Weir, who has traveled extensively throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, found a situation largely the reverse of what was being reported by western media. Concerned that citizens were being misinformed or uninformed, her organization committed to the research and dissemination of accurate information about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A search of the term “Associated Press” on her organization’s website turned up dozens of links to AP stories. Here are the lead-ins to six of them:
- AP reveals Israeli censorship, says it will abide by rules: In return for receiving permission to operate in Israel, AP has agreed to strict self-censorship of its news coverage. Critics say censorship is undemocratic and violation of freedom of speech
- Associated Press deconstructed: How AP buried explosive information about US reporter Anthony Shadid’s death
- Deadly Distortion: AP coverage of Israeli and Palestinian Deaths in 2004 over-reported Israeli deaths, 141 reported, 108 actual, and under-reported Palestinian deaths, 543 reported, 821 actual.
- AP Erases Video of Israeli Soldier Shooting Palestinian Boy
- AP’s Matti Friedman: Israeli citizen, former Israeli soldier is a correspondent for AP, writing news articles that are consistently Israeli-centric in wording and focus and selective in which information to include, exclude
- AP: Are you just waiting for Samer Issawi to die? – Although Palestinian Issawi had been on a hunger strike for months in an Israeli prison, prompting an international campaign on his behalf, AP did not write a single story or even answer queries about him
Any responsibly informed critical thinker will recognize the Star’s AP story for what it is, pro-Israeli propaganda.
3/ Windsor Star articles
The following four articles, published by the Star in 2013, reveal its pro-Israeli reporting style. Repeated timeouts by the Star’s server prevented the inclusion of links to additional stories. Moreover, though the articles are hyperlinked on the Star’s website, Microsoft blocked the links included in this post as unsafe, so the links were removed.
- PALESTINE POSTERS DIVIDE VANCOUVER ‘Grave concern’ over transit ads Aug 28 — Jewish groups threaten to sue TransLink for accepting controversial ad campaign Jewish groups in Vancouver say they are considering suing TransLink for accepting controversial political advertisements
- Israel urged Canada to continue Palestine aid July 10 – As political adviser Yves Engler pointed out Canadian aid to Palestinians serves Israel. But one doubts that the Star’s storyline reflects Engler’s viewpoint.
- VANCOUVER’S CONTROVERSIAL BUS ADS Aug 31 — An ad depicting Palestine shrinking into the state of Israel at a subway station in Vancouver, historical mistake in need of rectification. This campaign’s true agenda is to wipe the Jewish state off the map by falsely claiming Israel is wiping…
- Map flap hits TransLink Oct 15 — A pro-Israel group is fighting back against a controversial map sponsored by a pro-Palestinian organization advertised on Vancouver TransLink stations and buses. StandWithUs, an international pro-Israel advocacy organization, is launching its own ad
Windsor Star readers are unlikely to find fair and balanced reporting on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
For those seeking alternative viewpoints, try these online sources for starters —
- Electronic Intifada at http://electronicintifada.net/
- Middle East Research and Information Project at http://www.merip.org/
- Washington Report on Middle East Affairs at http://www.wrmea.org/
- Mondoweiss at http://mondoweiss.net/
- Ma’an News Agency at http://www.maannews.net/ENG/
- 972 Magazine at http://972mag.com/