Seale of Disapproval

Writing in the International Herald Tribune of 27 October, Patrick Seale demonstrates his obvious antipathy towards Israel, while excusing Palestinians from any responsibility for their current plight. According to Seale, who questions Israel’s very status as a democratic state, IDF anti-terror operations are random and indiscriminate murder:

“The killing continues on a daily basis – by tank and sniper fire, by air and sea bombardment, and by undercover teams in civilian clothes sent into Arab territory to ambush and murder, an Israeli specialty perfected over the past several decades.

How long will the “international community” allow the slaughter to continue? The cruel repression of the occupied territories, and of Gaza in particular, is one of the most scandalous in the world today. It is the blackest stain on Israel’s patchy record as a would-be democratic state.”

Failing to place the current situation in any meaningful context, Seale speaks of Gaza “being besieged, starved, cut off from the world and bombed on a daily basis” and refers to “the shameful boycott of the democratically elected Hamas government”. Content to describe Israel’s government as “hawks, messianic settlers, Arab-killers and expansionists”, Seale cannot recognize the Hamas government as that of a terror organization that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and continues to hold Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit hostage. Nowhere does Seale mention Israel’s summer 2005 Gaza Disengagement or the current round of internal Palestinian violence between Fatah and Hamas members.

Seeking to downplay Palestinian terror and Qassam attacks from Gaza, Seale contends that Israel’s

“declared aim is to put an end once and for all to the home-made Qassam rockets that defiant Palestinians still manage to fire from time to time into the Israeli Negev. These are highly irritating but largely ineffectual weapons. Five Israelis have been killed by these rockets in the past six years.

(See below for statistics on exactly how “irritating” and “ineffectual” these Qassams are.)

Also minimizing the continuing Palestinian weapons smuggling into Gaza, Seale describes IDF Chief of Staff Halutz’s warnings on the issue as “lurid statements”.

Referring to the entry of Yisrael Beiteinu politician Avigdor Lieberman into the Israeli government, Seale seems to contradict himself. Claiming that “In any truly democratic country he [Lieberman] would be denounced and shunned as a dangerous fascist”, Seale goes on to quote criticism of Leiberman in an Israeli newspaper. In fact, a number of Israeli public figures have denounced Lieberman in varying degrees of colorful language, as is their right in a truly democratic country.

Concluding that “the Palestinians continue to bleed, starve and suffer unimaginable humiliations and hardships under Israel’s pitiless rule”, Seale demonstrates his one-sided analysis of the current Israeli-Palestinian situation.

Letters to the International Herald Tribune –


While Patrick Seale and many international media outlets minimize the effects of Qassam missile attacks, YNet publishes some new statistics that paint a different story:

“New details gathered from Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon indicate that since January 2005, about 300 people were hurt by Qassam rocket attacks in the city of Sderot and the communities of the western Negev….

The numbers indicate that during the first nine and a half months of 2006, 202 people were hurt by Qassams, more than double of the 87 from last year.

The most active month in that aspect was July of 2006 during the war in the north with 85 people. Before that, when the Gilad Shalit was kidnapped 27 people were hurt.During August of 2005, the time of the disengagement from Gaza, there were virtually no rocket attacks from Gaza, and only one person was evacuated to the emergency room of the hospital.A large part of those who were evacuated to the hospital suffered from shock, but there were those who were injured severely and even some killed.”

Qassams have had a debilitating effect on the residents of Sderot and surrounding areas. Don’t let the media downplay the seriousness of Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza.


Following the Guardian’s two-part feature in February that compared Israel to apartheid South Africa, our colleagues at CAMERA lodged a complaint with the UK’s Press Complaints Commission. Unfortunately, the complaint was not upheld. Ian Mayes, in the Guardian, calls the adjudication “an important statement about freedom of expression.” We call it a green light to present Israel as an “apartheid state” or any other dishonest, misleading or defamatory description.




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