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January 16, 2023 10:36 am

Media Outlet Fans Flames of Conflict in Wildly Misleading ‘Analysis’

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avatar by Rachel O'Donoghue


Jewish visitors gesture as Israeli security forces secure the area at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 5, 2022. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A recent “analysis” in The Guardian written by the publication’s former Jerusalem correspondent, Oliver Holmes, criticized Israel’s new National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, amid outrage at his recent brief visit to the Temple Mount, which took place on the 10th of Tevet, a Jewish fast day mourning the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem over 2,500 years ago, when the FIrst Temple was destroyed:

Israel’s new government is the most far-right in the country’s relatively short history, and it has hit the ground running. In little more than a week, the administration has made moves towards the largest expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank since the occupation began. It has allowed the hardline minister Ben-Gvir to stage a provocative visit to a sacred mosque compound – an act that has previously led to an intifada. It has announced a plan to gut the judiciary, which, despite already leaning to the hard right, is still seen as a thorn in the side of Israeli politicians who want direct control of Palestinian and Israeli life, with no checks […]

Israel’s politics has not suddenly lurched to ideological extremes. In big picture terms, Ben-Gvir and other settlers in the new government share the same goals as Netanyahu, and even many of Israel’s self-proclaimed centrist and leftwing politicians: ultimate control in perpetuity.

However, what Holmes fails to tell readers is that the flashpoint area is more than just a “sacred mosque compound” — it is the holiest place in Judaism and the site of the First and Second Temples built by King Solomon and Zerubbabel respectively. Furthermore, Jews are allowed to visit the site, albeit without engaging in prayer, a rule that Ben-Gvir’s 13-minute walk, during which he stuck to a narrow route, did not violate.

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For Holmes, however, the Temple Mount is purely a Muslim site, playing into the justification used by Palestinian leaders to incite violence against Jews under the pretense of “protecting” the Al-Aqsa Mosque against non-existent threats.

Additionally, the suggestion that the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sparked the Second Intifada is demonstrably wrong.

Palestinians themselves have admitted that the intifada was planned long before Sharon’s visit, including by former Palestinian Authority Communications Minister Imad Al-Faluji. Additionally, Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, revealed that her husband had declared his intention to carry out an intifada after the Camp David negotiations ended in stalemate in July 2000 — months before Sharon went to the compound.

Lastly, Holmes’ assertion that Israel’s judiciary is “leaning to the hard right” is bizarre. He admits that the current right-wing government is attempting to “gut” the judiciary — but not for being a “thorn in the side” of maniacal Israeli politicians as Holmes contends, but rather because the Israeli Supreme Court is perceived by some as too left-wing.

Likewise, the bold claim that every Israeli politician is essentially right-wing is baffling. Apparently, in Holmes’ mind, all Israelis are just one homogenous mass, nefariously pursuing a hidden agenda that might even be at odds with any of their publicly-stated principles.

This is what poses as “analysis” in @guardian: Israel’s judiciary is “already leaning to the hard right” & “many of Israel’s self-proclaimed centrist & leftwing politicians” share the same goals as Netanyahu. @olireports thinks all Israelis are the same.

— Simon Plosker (@SimonPlosker) January 8, 2023

But why should facts matter to The Guardian’s editors, who seem determined to fan the flames of conflict in a country thousands of miles away from their cozy London office?

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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