The Guardian broke out the violins by publishing a Palestinian boy’s open letter to President Obama — in the paper’s news section.
I hope the world will begin to speak out against the oppression we face in my neighbourhood and [the oppression] against all Palestinians. That you and others will not remain silent while our homes are taken, children are arrested and injured, and our future threatened.
The paper printed it alongside a 25-minute video produced by Just Vision about the boy’s difficult life in Sheikh Jarrah, an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood known for upscale European consulates and low-brow Palestinian propaganda on issues of home evictions and demolitions. You see, Mohammed El-Kurd and his family were evicted from their home in 2008.
What were the circumstances of their eviction? Did the family really own the property in question? What was the basis for the Jewish claims? Had they failed to pay rent? Were they in fact squatters? Was Israeli bureaucracy running amok?
The Guardian has a disproportionate fixation on Israeli evictions and home demolitions in eastern Jerusalem. So finding background info on the Al-Kurds wasn’t hard. Indeed, The Guardian’s Rory McCarthy covered the 2008 eviction. And after hashing through the legal he-said-she-said, McCarthy wrote in black on white:
Rabbi Arik Ascherman, of the Israeli group Rabbis for Human Rights, acknowledged that the al-Kurd land may have belonged to Jews before 1948 . . .
Mohammed’s deceptive letter doesn’t mention this. Neither did The Guardian. It would’ve been one thing had this been published in the Comment is Free cesspool. Anything goes over there.
Placing this in the news section — strange as that is — changed the standards of journalistic transparency. It behooved The Guardian to add a sentence or two of background Al-Kurds’ situation and what made this letter newsworthy.
But if you’re the editor at The Guardian blurring the line between news, opinion, and propaganda, why let an inconvenient truth spoil a great mood on the eve of a presidential visit?