Who’s Watching the Guardian?

As we have seen in past months, many media outlets perform contortions in order to present the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in “even-handed” terms. They feel obligated to assign equal blame to Israel for the fighting and bloodshed.

In recent weeks, the British Guardian goes even further. It places no blame whatsoever on the Palestinians. In article after article, and editorial after editorial (called a “leader” in England), the Guardian places sole blame on Israel, on Israel’s new prime minister, or on Israeli Defense Forces. Here are selected violations of media objectivity, courtesy of the Guardian:

 

  1. When a Palestinian terrorist killed 8 Israelis by ramming into a bus stop, the Guardian defended him as “a sort of Palestinian everyman who finally snapped because of the combined pressure of the four-month uprising and Israel’s economic blockade.” Despite his having admitted to carefully planning the attack, the Guardian said the attack was “far from being the calculated aim of a dedicated terrorist,” and claimed that the killer was merely drowsy from medication.


     

  2. The day after winning the election, Ariel Sharon visited the Western Wall and reverently touched the ancient stones. The Guardian then ran a cartoon by Steve Bell that obscenely depicted Sharon’s bloody handprints on the Western Wall. The cartoon desecrates the holiest Jewish site and encroaches on brash anti-Semitism.


     

  3. The Guardian ran an opinion piece entitled, “Israel simply has no right to exist,” which claims that Israeli soldiers “defy their consciences and blast unarmed schoolchildren.”


     

  4. Another Guardian opinion piece compares Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon to the worst war criminals of recent memory: “By any reasonable reckoning, he is a war criminal. This is a man of blood, whose history of terror and violation of the rules of war stretches back to the early 50s… Sharon’s most horrific crimes are more recent than Pinochet’s and his responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila killings is better documented than, say, that of the indicted former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic for the comparable Srebrenica massacre.”


     

  5. The Guardian proclaims that the peace process is “dead … officially killed off by Israel’s prime minister-elect, Ariel Sharon, and by the new Bush administration.” No blame is assigned to Yasser Arafat, who unleashed violence in the region through incitement in the PA’s inflammatory media, who rejected the far-reaching Barak proposals, and who has violated virtually all commitments made in the Oslo Accords.


Read our critique below, and if you feel the Guardian has been biased, send your complaints and thoughts to the editor. The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, you may cut-and-paste the critique below.

Email comments to:

letters@guardian.co.uk
simon.waldman@guardian.co.uk
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suzanne.goldenberg@guardian.co.uk

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To the Editor of the Guardian:

Recent articles, cartoons, and leaders in your publication indicate a strong bias against Israel. The stories are replete with misleading definitions and terminology, selective omission, distortions of fact, and imbalanced reporting.


USING TRUE FACTS TO DRAW FALSE CONCLUSIONS

When the Palestinian terrorist killed 8 Israelis by ramming into a bus stop, the Guardian defended him as “a sort of Palestinian everyman who finally snapped because of the combined pressure of the four-month uprising and Israel’s economic blockade.” Your article also claimed that the killer was merely drowsy from medication.

The Palestinians continuously argue that Israel does not allow them to

continue working in Israel and support their families. But did the Palestinian who perpetrated this atrocity really snap from economic pressure, as you claim? He was one of the lucky inhabitants of Gaza to hold a steady job — working for almost 6 years with the same bus company! On the contrary, this one man may have well jeopardized the livelihood of an additional 200 Palestinian drivers who live in Gaza, and are employed by the same bus company, some — for 25 years.

Could you please explain why the Guardian provides moral and medical justification for this multiple murder of innocent Israeli civilians? And why — despite his having admitted to carefully planning the attack — do you report that the attack was “far from being the calculated aim of a dedicated terrorist”?

* * * * *

SELECTIVE OMISSION

In a Feb. 9 article, “The new old peace process,” Derek Brown claims that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is “dead… officially killed off by Israel’s prime minister-elect, Ariel Sharon, and by the new Bush administration.”

Certainly Yasser Arafat deserves the bulk of the blame for the murder of the peace process. He rejected the far-reaching and unprecedented Israeli concessions made at Camp David and in later negotiations. Arafat then made mockery of the Oslo agreements that he signed, particularly his commitment to resolve differences peacefully, by releasing Palestinians terrorists from jail, and by inciting violence in the PA media.

Why does the Guardian not highlight Arafat for blame?

* * * * *

DISTORTION OF FACTS

Your Feb. 8 cartoon, showing Ariel Sharon leaving bloodstains on the Western Wall, is in particular poor taste. This cartoon distorts the facts, and desecrates the holiest Jewish site.

Sharon served as a soldier and officer, as did Yitzhak Rabin, Dwight Eisenhower and Lord Montgomery. They all gave commands that sometimes led to civilian casualties. War is not sterile, but war is governed by humane rules of engagement that Israel and its military officers follow.

Terrorism, however, is beyond the pale. The terrorism of Yasser Arafat — hijackings, massacres, and deliberate targeting of civilians — are all ignored by your publication, in favor of vilification of Israel and Sharon. Does the Guardian ever show Arafat kneeling at the al Aqsa mosque atop the Israeli victims of the Munich massacre? Or atop the civilians bombed in airports, sidewalk cafes and Jerusalem buses? Or atop the wheelchaired Leon Klinghoffer, killed on the Achille Lauro? Or atop the Christian victims in the Lebanese town of Damour?

I would appreciate a response explaining why the Guardian hammers away at Israel and its democratically-elected prime minister, while ign
oring the bloody actions of Palestinians and their leader, Yasser Arafat.

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The cartoon above appears in The Times of London (subscription only). Ostensibly it makes fun of UK cabinet minister Theresa May, ...