* Daily Express columnist: “My geography’s a little sketchy but isn’t Bali a few miles away from [Israel]? Does anyone – but an idiot, a Guardian columnist or an anti-Semite (and there’s a big crossover) – really believe that hundreds of people were murdered in Bali because of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians?”
“TERRORISTS” WHEN ISRAELI JEWS ARE NOT THE TARGETS
[Note by Tom Gross]
Whereas the supposedly quality media in Europe continues to implicitly and explicitly link Israel with the Bali bombing, something of a backlash against this is growing among the more populist, tabloid press – another sign, perhaps, that a "blame the Jews" attitude is more prevalent among so-called intellectuals, often on the Left, than it is among "ordinary" people.
(Today, once again, many international media outlets are refusing to characterize as "terrorist" the car bomb that blew up alongside a bus in northern Israel, killing at least 8 persons on their way home from work and wounding over 45, 6 severely. These same media organizations do characterize as "terrorist" bombs when Israeli Jews are not the targets, whether in Bali, the Philippines, Spain, Britain or New York.)
“MY GEOGRAPHY’S A LITTLE SKETCHY BUT ISN’T BALI A FEW MILES AWAY FROM ISRAEL?”
I attach extracts from articles by:
(1) Richard Littlejohn in the British tabloid The Sun, who criticizes "the kneejerk reaction [of the BBC] to always blame the Americans and the Jews." He adds "I doubt the maniacs who planted the Bali bomb could even point to the West Bank on the map".
(2) Mitchell Symons in the mid-market British tabloid, The Daily Express, who (in a rare move for a British journalist) explicitly links the word "anti-Semite" with writers for Britain's supposedly liberal and highly influential Guardian newspaper. Symons writes: "My geography's a little sketchy but isn't Bali a few miles away from [Israel]? Does anyone – but an idiot, a Guardian columnist or an anti-semite (and there's a big crossover) – really believe that hundreds of people were murdered in Bali because of Israel's policy towards the Palestinians?"
(3) Brit Hume, writing on Fox news.com notes that the Bali bombing – in which about 30 Britons were killed – has led the "ordinary" British public to harden its attitude on terrorism and opposing despots like Saddam Hussein.
(4) Extracts from a lengthy article by Bret Stephens, the editor of The Jerusalem Post, who asks why even though "most reputable foreign journalists know very well that Palestinian spokesmen such as Saeb Erekat are liars [and] that the IDF is generally trustworthy" they continue to provide much greater airtime and column inches to Erekat rather than the IDF spokespeople, whose quotes, press conferences and versions of events are generally ignored.
(5) A press release by the American Jewish Congress, criticizing the Reuters news agency for "a breach in the standards of fairness and accuracy" for reporting that a UN commission approved the Lebanese diversion of Israel's water, without noting that the group is made up exclusively of Arab nations, and excludes Israel.
-- Tom Gross
* For more on the Bali bombing, see The Bali disco difference: not all terror victims are treated equally (Oct. 14, 2002) and More on the Bali bombings: outright anti-Semitic lies and good deeds (Oct. 16, 2002).
“THE KNEEJERK REACTION IS ALWAYS TO BLAME THE AMERICANS AND THE JEWS”
Richard Littlejohn (The Sun, October 18, 2002): "Within hours of the Bali bombing, the search was on for scapegoats. The usual suspects were telling us this was all the fault of America and Israel for not solving the Palestinian problem. It was the "deep sense of injustice" over the plight of the Palestinians which drove the bombers to murder 200 people in Indonesia, I heard an "expert" on the BBC inform us. The kneejerk reaction is always to blame the Americans and the Jews. But this has got nothing to do with the Palestinians. I doubt the maniacs who planted the bomb could even point to the West Bank on the map. This is about an international network of crazed Islamofascists who want to wipe "infidels" off the face of the earth. It is terrorism, pure and simple. Cold-blooded murder. It shouldn't be dignified by giving it some kind of political justification. Does anyone seriously believe that if Israel and the Palestinians shook hands on a deal tomorrow, al-Q'aida would call off the dogs of war and go back to their caves to live in peace? Grow up."
“THE ONLY CONNECTION BETWEEN BALI AND THE MIDDLE EAST: MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISM”
Mitchell Symons (The Daily Express, October 18, 2002): "And then there was Bali. Now, it's impossible for anyone to sustain an argument that this atrocity – or indeed any of the horrors that preceded it – has anything to do with America's inability to impose a peace deal on the Middle East. My geography's a little sketchy but isn't Bali a few miles away from there? Does anyone – but an idiot, a Guardian columnist or an anti-semite (and there's a big crossover) – really believe that hundreds of people were murdered in Bali because of Israel's policy towards the Palestinians? And even if they were (and they weren't), what on Earth could have been achieved by such an atrocity? The only connection between Bali and the Middle East is this: Muslim fundamentalism. Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiyah and Hamas share the same values and the same ambitions: to make the world fit for their followers (and them alone) by the simple, but ruthless, expedience of killing as many 'infidels' as possible."
Israel could – and should – have reached an accommodation with the Palestinians 20 years ago. America could – and should – have encouraged them. If they'd done the right thing then, they'd have been dealing with the PLO; they didn't and so they have to accept the fact that there's no deal now without Hamas but – and here's the trouble – there's no deal with them either. They not only refuse to accept Israel within the 1948 boundaries, they refuse to accept Israel at all. And while they still have bombs and brainwashed children to strap them to – not to mention apologists in the West – they won't go away. Like whoever was responsible for the Bali bombings, they'll just carry on killing infidels."
MASSACRE AFFECTED BRITISH OPINION
By Brit Hume (Fox News, October 17, 2002)
That terrorist massacre on the Indonesian Island of Bali over the weekend has had a surprising effect on public opinion in Britain, which lost 30 people in the attack. The liberal Guardian newspaper reports a 10-point rise in support for an attack on Iraq after the bombing, with 42 percent now in favor, and 37 percent opposed. That's the most support for an attack, the lowest percentage opposed since the Guardian started polling weekly on the issue back in August. Only 35 percent said the United States had "taken its eye off the ball" of the fight against Al Qaeda.
“IF ANYTHING, THE IDF IS HELD TO HIGHER STANDARDS”
Bret Stephens (The Jerusalem Post, October 18, 2002): "Most reputable foreign journalists in Israel know very well that Palestinian spokesmen such as Saeb Erekat are liars, as his trumping up of the Jenin massacre myth made clear. They also know that the IDF is generally trustworthy and IDF spokesmen often quite helpful. Yet somehow this doesn't do much to enhance the IDF's prestige among the foreign press corps, or detract from Erekat's. The attitude of many foreign journalists is that the IDF's credibility, and the Palestinian Authority's lack thereof, are each givens, and therefore unworthy of remark. If anything, the IDF is held to higher standards, and harshly scored when it falls shy of the mark."
“A BREACH IN THE STANDARDS OF FAIRNESS AND ACCURACY”
American Jewish Congress press release
October 18, 2002
AJcongress blasts Reuters report that U.N. commission approves of Lebanese diversion of Israel's water, without noting that group is made up exclusively of Arab nations, and excludes Israel.
Declaring that the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) is "little more than the Arab League in U.N. blue," the American Jewish Congress today criticized the Reuters news service for a report stating that ESCWA approved of Lebanon's decision to pump water from the Wazzani River that also supplies Israel, without noting that the Commission is made up totally of Arab countries and excludes Israel.
Israel considers the pumping to be hostile act, that may require a military response. In its October 16 story "Lebanon Taps River at the Center of Israel Row," Reuters wrote that an ESCWA report not only declared that such pumping does not violate international agreements, but added as well that "it is a duty of the Lebanese government to supply local residents with water for domestic and other use."
In a letter to the New York-based editor of Reuters, AJCongress President Jack Rosen declared, "Had Reuters investigated further, it would have discovered that ESCWA consists of the following members: Bahrain, Egypt (home to the Executive Secretary of the Commission), Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine (although there is no state of Palestine), Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. Notably missing from the Commission: Israel."
"Once again," Rosen wrote, "a purportedly disinterested U.N. is tainted by the continued Arab refusal to acknowledge Israel's rightful place in the Middle East. That Reuters reported ESCWA's findings without comment on its makeup – little more than the Arab League in U.N. blue – represents a breach in the standards of fairness and accuracy that should govern any media organization, particularly one with the worldwide reach of Reuters."