Thursday, October 19th | 29 Tishri 5778

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
October 30, 2015 5:03 am

The Guardian Just Legitimized a Palestinian Conspiracy Theory

avatar by Adam Levick

Email a copy of "The Guardian Just Legitimized a Palestinian Conspiracy Theory" to a friend

jew-with-knife

Anyone even somewhat knowledgeable about Palestinian social media and news sites is likely familiar with anti-Israel (and at times antisemitic) conspiracy theories that pass as news. Such faux news often feeds into a Palestinian population already quite eager to impute extreme malevolence to the Jewish State.

For instance, a poll in early January showed that more than 84% of Palestinians believed that the Islamist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket in Paris were “suspicious” — and that Israel may be behind them.

More recently, many Palestinians have responded to news regarding the spate of Arab stabbing attacks against Jews by claiming that the Palestinians shot by Israeli police in response to such attacks were actually innocent. Israeli police, the theory goes, have been planting knifes at the scenes of these incidents to cover up for “state executions.”

Related coverage

September 19, 2016 6:32 am
0

Israel Is High on Medical Marijuana

JNS.org - Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes Israeli entrepreneurs succeed because they challenge authority, question everything and don’t play by the rules. “The...

Echoing this libel, a cartoon appeared recently in the official PA daily showing a religious Jewish settler planting a knife on a small Palestinian boy while riding on the back of an Israeli soldier.

The mainstreaming of such wild accusations comes in different forms.

Speaking at a Palestine Return Centre event in Britain’s Parliament on Tuesday, Labour MP Gerald Kaufman claimed that the Israeli government made up the recent spate of stabbing attacks in order to “execute Palestinians.”

British news outlets sometimes play a part in legitimizing such conspiracy theories by uncritically quoting such Palestinian claims, often abdicating their professional responsibilities to distinguish between fact and mere conjecture.

Recently, my colleague Tamar Sternthal reported on an article by Jodi Rudoren at The New York Times, which turned completely unsubstantiated Palestinian accusations of Israeli treachery into a ‘he said, she said’ paradigm of “dueling narratives.”

And, in the Guardian, a report by their Middle East editor Ian Black on Mahmoud Abbas’ speech at the UN Human Rights Council included the following passages:

Shortly after Abbas made his appeal at the UN human rights council in Geneva on Wednesday soldiers shot a Palestinian dead at a security checkpoint in the West Bank town of Hebron, where hundreds of militant Jewish settlers live and there is also strong support for the Islamist movement Hamas.

Maan, the Palestinian news agency, cited unnamed witnesses saying that Israeli troops shot the man 11 times and planted a knife by his corpse. Israel TV reported that he had tried to stab soldiers and had been “neutralized.”

Of course, the only evidence presented in the Maan report — as Black himself acknowledges — are the claims of unnamed activists.

So, was Black, a journalist with decades of experience covering the Middle East, really unable to contextualize the accusation by noting the popularity of such wild conspiracy theories in the region? In Black’s view, are Israeli and Palestinian “claims” regarding the incident in Hebron equally credible? Was his reaction to Palestinian claims about the knife being planted not at all influenced by the plethora of evidence over the last month demonstrating the undeniable reality of dozens of such attacks?

As Sternthal observed in her CAMERA post, the job of journalists covering the region is to deliver facts, not to uncritically repeat, thus legitimizing, unfounded allegations that only serve to reinforce the growing Palestinian incitement industry.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Bibi

    The author fails Introductory Journalism with a clanger…. Changing ‘unnamed witnesses’ to ‘unnamed activists’ to serve his own bias.

    Very poor journalism from someone who purports to be pointing out someone else’s poor journalism.

    You give the Palestinians fodder with that one.

    Bibi

  • Davies Samuel

    During the Ottoman Empire the Turks used to say that
    when an Arab open his mouth only lies comes out through his
    lips.

  • Julian Clovelley

    I find myself increasingly unable to make any sense out of Levick’s fanatical tirades against the Guardian newspaper – but this one comes across as so crazy I urge people to follow the link to the Guardian article concerned and the video on the page that is part of it. The general thrust of the article and video is to report the efforts of Israeli’s seeking to maintain peace and friendship between Arabs and Jews – and to report the existence of an alternative Jewish Israeli view to the Nationalist Right Wing view. Such reporting does credit to the plurality and diversity of Israeli politics and to the patient humanity of many Jewish Israelis and their Arab friends and neighbours

    The article is certainly not biased in the manner Levick complains – indeed Levick’s incessant bias is the one that comes out most when he writes:

    “So, was Black, a journalist with decades of experience covering the Middle East, really unable to contextualize the accusation by noting the popularity of such wild conspiracy theories in the region? In Black’s view, are Israeli and Palestinian “claims” regarding the incident in Hebron equally credible? Was his reaction to Palestinian claims about the knife being planted not at all influenced by the plethora of evidence over the last month demonstrating the undeniable reality of dozens of such attacks?”

    Unless you look at the original Guardian article what Levick writes seems borderline reasonable, albeit he fails to recognise that “wild conspiracy theories” exist on all sides in the disputes, including his own – the propaganda twist is in the words “was his reaction to Palestinian claims….” – You see Black does NOT publish in his article a personal reaction – The nature of it is implied by Levick’s article, not by anything Black writes. Black’s article is quite bland in reporting both claims and Amnesty Internationals comments. Levick’s attack on Black is careful worded to imply content in Black’s article that simply isn’t there. One is left with the impression Levick does not want any opinion or evidence he does not personally select to be aired

    I find that shameful, and counterproductive to the Israeli peoples search for peace and security…

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/28/mahmoud-abbas-appeals-un-international-protection-for-palestinians

Algemeiner.com