Me­dia’s mis­di­rected blame game

ANAL­Y­SIS

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY ADAM LE­VICK

ON MON­DAY night, Is­rael for­mally ac­cepted the Egyp­tian pro­posed cease­fire call­ing for an end to “all hos­til­i­ties” be­tween Ha­mas and Is­rael from the fol­low­ing morn­ing.

Though the IDF halted its mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, Ha­mas re­jected calls to stop at­tacks and fired dozens of rock­ets at Is­raeli cities dur­ing the de­clared truce. Af­ter six hours of con­tin­ued at­tacks, Is­rael an­nounced it would re­sume its mil­i­tary oper­a­tion and be­gan at­tack­ing Ha­mas tar­gets.

De­spite this straight­for­ward se­ries of events, some me­dia out­lets found a way to ob­scure Ha­mas’s cul­pa­bil­ity, with the Guardian leading the pack. Even when the paper ac­knowl­edged that Ha­mas was still fir­ing rock­ets, they some­how con­cluded that the “cease­fire was hold­ing” and later man­aged to blame Is­rael’s even­tual re­tal­i­a­tion for caus­ing it to col­lapse.

Af­ter the paper was crit­i­cised on Twit­ter, Guardian deputy edi­tor Phoebe Green­wood de­fended the cov­er­age, ar­gu­ing in one Tweet that since Ha­mas never agreed to the cease­fire, their rocket at­tacks did not rep­re­sent a vi­o­la­tion of its terms.

The BBC’s cov­er­age of the war, ac­cord­ing to Hadar Sela, edi­tor of mon­i­tor­ing group BBC Watch, has in­cluded heavy fo­cus on the al­leged short­age of med­i­cal sup­plies and fuel in Gaza, in­ac­cu­rately at­trib­uted to re­stric­tions im­posed by the Is­raelis.

The cor­po­ra­tion also claimed that Is­rael de­lib­er­ately tar­geted civil­ians, and re­layed ac­cu­sa­tions of war crimes. But its jour­nal­ists con­sis­tently failed to re­port the use of Gaza’s civil­ian pop­u­la­tion as hu­man shields by Ha­mas.

In the par­al­lel uni­verse in­hab­ited by the Pales­tine Sol­i­dar­ity Cam­paign (PSC), how­ever, the cor­po­ra­tion has been guilty of pro-Is­rael bias, with the PSC stag­ing sev­eral protests, in­clud­ing one out­side BBC’s cen­tral Lon­don head­quar­ters at New Broad­cast­ing House .

Ac­cord­ing to blog­ger Richard Mil­lett, the PSC demo out­side Lon­don’s Is­raeli em­bassy last Satur­day was marred by an­tisemitism. Some pro­test­ers mocked the Holo­caust, oth­ers com­pared Is­rael to the Nazis, and a few called for the de­struc­tion of the Jewish state.

PSC di­rec­tor Sarah Col­borne ac­knowl­edged that so­cial me­dia sites and demon­stra­tions had been used by anti-Is­rael ac­tivists to “ped­dle ha­tred and in­tol­er­ance” to­wards Jews.

Ms Col­borne said: “We dis­agree fun­da­men­tally with any at­tempts to com­pare ac­tions of the Is­raeli govern­ment to the Holo­caust. The PSC has re­sponded as fast as we can to re­move, ban and re­port com­ments which vi­o­late our Face­book pol­icy.”

She also claimed PSC Face­book feeds had been hi­jacked by people want­ing to cause “in­cite­ment to vi­o­lence and ha­tred against Pales­tini­ans”.

It is dis­turb­ing that the PSC’s “hu­man­i­tar­ian” ap­peals on be­half of the Pales­tini­ans are of­ten com­pro­mised by anti-Jewish racism — an as­pect of the pro-Pales­tinian move­ment which the UK me­dia rou­tinely ig­nores. Adam Le­vick is the man­ag­ing edi­tor of CiF Watch, an af­fil­i­ate of the Com­mit­tee for Ac­cu­racy in Mid­dle East Reporting in Amer­ica

Pro-Pales­tini­ans out­side the BBC

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