The Guardian’s Selective Memri

Good news: Suzanne Goldenberg, the (UK) Guardian’s chief Jerusalem correspondent, is leaving for a new assignment is Washington. (More good news: Phil Reeves of the UK Independent is also leaving.)

Since the start of the violence, Goldenberg’s incessant criticism of Israel’s right to defend its citizens has undoubtedly emboldened Palestinian terrorists. Last year, the Guardian’s front page questioned Israel’s right to exist: “The establishment of [the State of Israel] has been bought at a very high cost in human rights and human lives. It must be apparent that the international community cannot support this cost indefinitely,” opined The Guardian.

To mark the end of her tenure, Goldenberg submits her swan song, “It’s Gone Beyond Hostility” (August 12).
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4479883,00.html

Readers are invited to send a friendly farewell message to Suzanne at:
letters@guardian.co.uk

Although the circulation of The Guardian (at about half million sales per day) is not particularly large by British standards, it is highly influential, being the newspaper of choice for Britain’s academics and media elites (and read, for example, by many BBC staff). It also has sister arrangements with papers throughout Europe, and many of The Guardian’s articles appear in other languages such as France’s Le Monde.

===== ATTACK ON MEMRI =====

It seems that there’s enough biased reporting at the Guardian to fill Goldenberg’s void.

Also this week, the Guardian’s Middle East editor, Brian Whitaker, authored a piece entitled “Selective Memri” (August 12):

Whitaker’s article is an attack on MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute (http://www.memri.org), which provides translations of articles and speeches from various Arabic sources.

In his attack, Whitaker acknowledges that “nobody, so far as I know, disputes the general accuracy of Memri’s translations.” So what’s the problem?

For starters, Whitaker quotes Ibraham Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who complains that MEMRI depicts the Muslim world in a bad light. Hardly a valid criticism, considering that MEMRI merely translates the Arabic media!

Whitaker also denounces MEMRI for employing three former members of Israeli intelligence. What Whitaker doesn’t tell us is that MEMRI’s founder, Colonel Yigal Carmon, was an advisor to the late Yitzhak Rabin and is a supporter of territorial compromise.

Whitaker scoffs at the fact that the names of MEMRI’s staff and office address were removed from their website due to concern of attack by Arab extremists. Whitaker calls this an “over-the-top precaution.” One wonders if the Guardian would consider itself “over-the-top” for taking such precautions to protect its own staff from violence.

===== CONFLICT OF INTEREST =====

Most surprising of all is that while Whitaker spends 1,700 words attacking MEMRI as a “mysterious organization” and its “air of secrecy,” he has forgotten to tell Guardian readers of his own secrets. For in addition to his work as Middle East editor of The Guardian, Whitaker also runs the anti-Israel website Arab Gateway
(http://www.al-bab.com).

Arab Gateway lists viciously anti-Israel “associate sites,” such as that of the spuriously-named “Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding” (http://www.caabu.org).

Whitaker’s site has pages about non-Arab minorities in the Middle East, such as Berbers and Kurds — but no page on Jews. The site’s section on “maps” lists a “country map of Palestine” (we didn’t know Palestine was a country), but upon clicking the link it takes you to a file at the Univ. of Texas archives with a slightly different name: “israel_map.jpg”.

See a beaming photo of Whitaker on the “about” page of Arab Gateway at
http://www.al-bab.com/arab/about.htm

Sound to us like a conflict of interest.

Comments can be sent to the Guardian:
letters@guardian.co.uk
Editor: simon.waldman@guardian.co.uk
Writer: brian.whitaker@guardian.co.uk

Comments to Whitaker’s Arab website can be sent to:
arabgateway@hotmail.com

Thanks to Tom Gross for the above information.

UPDATE:
MEMRI responds to Whitaker’s allegations.

 

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