Coptic Christians confirm role in anti-Islam film that media blamed on “Jews”

September 13, 2012

A scene from the amateur YouTube clip which many Moslems said they found offensive



[Note by Tom Gross]

I am traveling with limited time to write, but this is a quick note to appeal to some of the many senior journalists and editors at publications around the world who subscribe to this list to start reversing the utterly untrue and highly inflammatory reporting that the maker of the YouTube clip that insults the prophet Mohammed and is supposedly the cause of the ongoing anti-American rioting in several countries is “an Israeli Jew”.

That clip is supposedly the reason that American diplomatic compounds in Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Tunis have been stormed over the last 48 hours, leading to the murder of four Americans, including Chris Stevens, one of America’s most respected diplomats. At least a dozen other Americans have been injured.

These false claims about Israelis being behind this film are still continuing. I have just seen them made again, live on air, by one of MSNBC’s leading guest commentators, and unchallenged by the MSNBC host. I have also read them today in several other publications, including the respected British daily, the Financial Times.

Yesterday in the U.S., the Wall Street Journal irresponsibly reported that a person called “Sam Bacile” was the writer, director and producer of the film and that he was a 52-year-old “Israeli-American real-estate developer” who “raised $5 million from about 100 Jewish donors.”

Then the world’s biggest news agency, the Associated Press, in a story widely re-published from Brazil to Australia, said Bacile was 56 and “an Israeli Jew.”

Another major international news agency, Reuters, then identified Bacile as “an Israeli-American property developer” whose name “could have Egyptian origins.”

But today the AP has reported that Bacile is not a real person and the makers of the film are said to be Coptic Christian exiles from Egypt living in California. (Copts have suffered repeatedly from murderous attacks in Egypt over recent years.)

Falsely citing Jewish backing for the film – just like the invented claims that the “Jews” were behind the 9/11 attacks in 2001, has, of course potentially serious consequences for Jews who may suffer “revenge” attacks in the Middle East, Europe and elsewhere.

While the YouTube clip may be an attack on Islam, these false reports by media outlets that should know better are in effect an attack on Jews.

Today the Wall Street Journal says it can no longer reach “the man calling himself Mr. Bacile,” nor could it find any record of him in the United States or Israel.

The Israeli authorities have confirmed that no such person holds an Israeli passport.

AP has also now clarified its own reporting saying “some key facts” about Bacile had “crumbled,” including his name, religious background and national origin.

This isn’t, of course, the first time the media has reacted too quickly to a series of unfolding events, and been too quick to blame Jews and Israelis. Perhaps they will learn for next time.

-- Tom Gross

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