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A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.

Anonymous Coward
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01/13/2009 06:38 PM
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A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.
[link to www.geocities.com]

A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.

Hebrew Edition

Ha’aretz English Edition

My Comments

Security Sources :

Barghouti Displays Arrogance In Interrogation

‘Barghouti Ran Terror For Arafat’

Nice change of title! The factual basis of the original story is the arrest and interrogation of Barghouti, but the headline for English-speaking readers is the unsupported claim that Barghouti and Arafat are orchestrating terrorist attacks.

Part 1

Major General Aharon Ze’evi Farkash, head of Military Intelligence, said two days ago that Marwan Barghouti, the senior Fatah member arrested by the army in Ramallah on Monday, was in close contact with chairman of the Authority Yasir Arafat and coordinated terror activities with him, including suicide bombings.

Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, who was arrested by the Israel Defense Forces on Monday, maintained close contact with Yasser Arafat and coordinated all his terrorist activities, including suicide attacks, with the Palestinian Authority chairman, Major General Aharon Ze'evi Farkash, the head of Military Intelligence, said on Tuesday.

Part 2

Ze’evi said that evidence uncovered during the arrest showed Arafat was involved in terror.

The intelligence data found in the course of the capture indicate that both Arafat and the PA, like Barghouti, were involved in terror, Ze'evi added.

Part 3

Ze’evi claimed that Barghouti's arrest would have a psychological effect on Palestinian violence because Barghouti encouraged suicide attacks in his speeches.

Ze'evi predicted that Barghouti's arrest might have a psychological deterrent effect on Palestinian terror, as Barghouti had encouraged suicide terrorists through his speeches. But Hamas yesterday threatened to murder Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, other cabinet ministers and senior army officers in retaliation for the arrest, AFP reported.

Specially added for the English-speaking audience, a superfluous reminder: Hamas are terrorists too!
Part 4

The Shabak is continuing Barghouti's interrogation, which began right after his arrest. Security sources said Barghouti is displaying "conceit and arrogance" and is not cooperating. He is angry about his arrest because he sees himself as a political leader who is therefore entitled to immunity from Israeli arrest.

The Shin Bet security service is continuing to interrogate Barghouti, but security sources said he has so far refused to cooperate. Barghouti, they explained, views himself as a political leader who should have enjoyed immunity from arrest and is consequently furious over his capture.

Part 5

The GSS hopes that Barghouti "will be broken" as interrogation proceeds, and will begin to deliver details on his involvement in Tanzim attacks.

Nevertheless, they said, they are hopeful he will crack at some point and give them details about his Fatah-affiliated organization's involvement in terror. Israel is particularly interested in any information he might have about Arafat's ties with terrorist organizations.

Another addition for English speakers: Barghouti MIGHT have information about Arafat’s (alleged and unspecified) ties to terror.

Shorter version: “Don’t forget, Arafat is still a terrorist!”
Part 6

There is disagreement in the security system about what to do with Barghouti when his interrogation is complete. Prime Minister Sharon has already announced his intention to have Barghouti put on trial. But senior military and Shabak officials argue that this is a mistake, because Barghouti would use a trial to present himself as the leader of a national liberation struggle, facing a political trial at the hands of Israel. They want Barghouti to be expelled to a neighboring Arab country instead.

There is a dispute within the security establishment over what to do with Barghouti following the interrogation. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said on Monday that he wants Barghouti to stand trial. But many senior IDF and Shin Bet officials believe this would be a mistake, as Barghouti would exploit the trial to portray himself as a national liberation leader and his trial as an act of political repression by Israel. They would therefore prefer to deport him to a neighboring Arab country once the interrogation is completed.

Part 7

In the meantime, an argument is developing about who should get the credit for capturing Barghouti. Some commanders in the territories are angry about news reports that credit the arrest of Barghouti and his nephew Ahmed (a Tanzim member) to the Sayeret Duvdevan. They say the Special Forces only arrived a short time before Marwan Barghouti gave himself up, after soldiers on the ground had already captured Ahmed and were surrounding the house.

And another war is brewing within the establishment over who should be credited with Barghouti's arrest. Several officers are furious over media reports that credited the arrest to the undercover Duvdevan unit, saying the honor really belongs to soldiers from the armored corps and the Dukhifat infantry battalion, who surrounded the house and had already taken Barghouti's nephew Ahmed, when the Duvdevan troops arrived.

Part 8

The initial siege of the house involved soldiers from a battalion of an armored brigade, and soldiers from the Dukhifat infantry battalion. The Dukhifat soldiers were squeezed into a protected ambulance in order to arrive as quickly as possible at the house where Barghouti was hiding, and to seal it off. The head of the armoured battalion commanded the operation.

This paragraph omitted from English edition.

Hey, where did the ambulance go?

Ha’aretz’ English edition inserts tangential comments demonizing Arafat, but omits salient facts from the original story because they reflect IDF misconduct?

Return to Lawrence of Cyberia: Why Ha’aretz is a Piece of Crap.
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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01/13/2009 06:43 PM
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Re: A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.
There is one area of Ha’aretz’ reporting that I doubt I have ever relied on however, and that is their reporting of I.D.F. affairs.

Too often, reports from Ha’aretz’ military analysts consist of an unquestioning repetition of unsubstantiated claims about Palestinian intentions and military capabilities, or an uncritical justification for I.D.F. actions with no analysis, no corroboration and no source except some unnamed, unspecified “military source”. If I wanted to read a press release justifying the I.D.F.’s latest "incursion" or "targetted killing", or laying the groundwork for the next mass home-razing in Rafah, I could go to the I.D.F.’s homepage: I don’t need to have it regurgitated as “news” on the pages of Ha’aretz. Adding a correspondent’s name to the top of an I.D.F. press release and publishing it in a respected newspaper doesn’t suddenly turn propaganda into journalism.

I was reminded of how seamlessly Ha’aretz supplements Israeli military propaganda as I followed up on an item I posted last week - When Is An Ambulance Not An Ambulance? - about the I.D.F.’s misuse of ambulances for military purposes. One of my source articles was a report about the arrest of Fatah West Bank Sec.-Gen. Marwan Barghouti, which I found in Ha’aretz’ Hebrew edition online. I had to use my own translation of the original Hebrew article to make my point, because for some reason I could not find the article in translation when I searched for reports about ambulances in the archives of Ha’aretz’ English-language website.

It turns out, however, that the story is right there in the English archive after all: it’s just that it’s been changed in translation in ways that made it hard to track down if you are looking for the facts as they are told in the original Hebrew. I’ve put together a chart providing a synopsis - I knew that Theology background would come in handy one day – of the Hebrew and English versions of the same story, showing how Ha’aretz chose to report the same story differently for its Israeli and overseas audiences.

View the chart.

I guess that would explain why I couldn’t find that story when I searched for information about ambulances on Ha’aretz’ English-language site. Aren’t those interesting changes to the original report? Ha’aretz’ message here to its English-speaking (largely American) audience: Thanks for the moral support and the three billion bucks annually, but don’t expect us to tell you the truth about what Israel does with it. Thank goodness you’re too dumb to read Hebrew and find out for yourselves. Well thanks, Ha’aretz.

It really wouldn’t matter if this was a Pipes or Horowitz story in the Jerusalem Post, because the Post has long-since shed its credibility in favor of providing a mouthpiece for the Likudnik hard Right. But this is “liberal”, “moderate”, “peace-promoting” Ha’aretz, proudly lying by omission for the I.D.F. And that is why Ha’aretz, despite the achievements of some truly outstanding journalists on its staff, is collectively and institutionally a piece of propagandizing crap.

[link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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01/13/2009 06:45 PM
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Re: A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.
The Camera Never Lies. Maybe.

Philip Weiss comments today on the IDF's use of You Tube to sell its attack on the Gaza Strip, referring specifically to an incident described by the BBC's Paul Reynolds, in which a blurry piece of footage that the IDF describes as the destruction of Grad missiles being loaded onto a truck turns out perhaps to be instead the destruction of a Gaza family trying to salvage oxygen cylinders from its destroyed workshop.

Reynolds points out that this incident really sums up the problem with accepting IDF war footage as factual: on their own, these grainy images don't unequivocally show you anything. The only indication you have that you are witnessing belligerent activity is that the IDF says so. And "the IDF says so", is not necessarily a reliable indicator of fact.

Last time I remember the IDF offering us video proof of its enemies' nefarious deeds in the Gaza Strip, it included this image of a U.N. ambulance driver loading something into the back of his vehicle:


Black and white video footage from an Israeli military drone over northern Gaza shows what the army says is a Palestinian loading a Qassam rocket into a United Nations ambulance on September 2, 2004. Israel demanded on Sunday the United Nations investigate whether Palestinians filmed in the Gaza Strip were militants using a U.N. van to transport rockets for use against Israel. (REUTERS / Israeli Defense Forces-Handout)

The outraged Israeli government insisted this was proof that U.N. personnel were transporting Qassam missiles to their launch sites in the Gaza Strip. The U.N. denied any such thing had happened. Analysts who viewed the video said the object in the ambulance driver's hand looked very lightweight for a Qassam, and thought it rather unlikely that someone loading an explosive device into an ambulance would casually throw it in from a distance, as happened in the video. Furthermore, although the lightweight object being thrown into the ambulance didn't really look consistent with a Qassam, it did look rather like ... a rolled-up stretcher which, coincidentally, the driver of the ambulance in question had insisted all along he was carrying and throwing into the back of his vehicle when the video was shot:


A Palestinian medic from the United Nations Wael Ghabaen carries a stretcher at the United Nations headquarters in Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2004 demonstrating the action for reporters in the wake of Israeli accusations that Gaza militants used a U.N. vehicle to transport a homemade rocket. The Israeli army released video they say was taken by an unmanned aircraft flying over Jebaliya that they allege shows militants loading a rocket into a vehicle with UN markings. The United Nations denied the accusation Sunday, saying the footage showed a worker loading a stretcher into an ambulance. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Ultimately, Israel's video"proof" of the U.N.'s alleged complicity in the firing of missiles ended up with a graceless acknowledgement from Israel that its false and inflammatory accusation was unfounded, and some hilarity for the cartoonists at Ha'aretz:


Defence Minister Mofaz to Chief of Staff Ya'alon: "We can't rule out the possibility that this is a stretcher".

So Paul Reynolds is right: you can't simply accept the IDF version of what they say you are looking at in their war footage, because it's perfectly possible the IDF interpretation is mistaken.

What Paul Reynolds doesn't say is that you also can't take the IDF's word for what is going on in their videos because in the past they have not only been mistaken about what their footage represents, they have also been caught issuing footage with deliberately deceptive commentary, designed to cover up their own illegal actions.

On 20 October 2003, the Israeli Air Force assassinated Hamas militants Khalid al-Masri and Iyad al-Hilo as they drove through the Nusseirat refugee camp near Gaza City. They were killed by a helicopter-launched missile that struck their car. Subsequently, about 140 passersby in the same street were horrifically wounded - as many as 14 of them fatally - by a second missile that struck while EMS personnel were arriving to attend to the victims of the first. IDF spokesmen denied that the appalling civilian casualties were anything to do with their operation. They insisted they had used Hellfire missiles in the attack, which would have had the shrapnel range of a hand grenade, and could therefore have been lethal only to people standing in the immediate vicinity of the car. To prove they were not responsible for the civilian carnage, they made available to international journalists a video of the killing showing that no bystanders were in the immediate vicinity at the time (ergo it could not have been the Israeli missiles that killed the bystanders).

The video is no longer available on-line - by the time you get to the end of this post you'll understand why the Israeli government took it down - but you can read the story of its release to the press, and see a still from the video, courtesy of BBC News:


BBC: Israel Denies Targetting Gaza Civilians.

So there you have it. Palestinians claimed that the IAF had fired two missiles into a Gaza street, one of which targeted two wanted men in car, while the other cut down indiscriminately large numbers of passersby in the street. The IDF acknowledged it had fired two missiles of limited range at the targeted car, which could not have killed anyone outside the immediate area, and offered video evidence that there was no-one in the immediate area, proving they could not have caused all the civilian casualties.

But, in the weeks that following the assassination at Nusseirat, Israeli MK Yossi Sarid repeatedly asked the IDF to clarify the operational details it had released to the press about the mission. Sarid was a member of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee, and had received classified information that events at Nusseirat were not as the Israeli military had suggested. It was not until Sarid threatened to go public with what he knew about the operation that the IDF came clean:

The Israeli military has admitted that it lied about a rocket attack on a Gaza refugee camp, which according to the army led to no casualties, but which the Palestinians have claimed killed 14 civilians.... [T]he army now admits that it lied in briefings to the Israeli and foreign press, because the second rocket was not a Hellfire missile. The military refuses to identify the weapon used, on the grounds of "operational security". But the speculation is that it was an American-made Flechette, which is illegal under international law because it fires thousands of tiny darts over hundreds of meters, causing horrific injuries. Israel has used similar weapons in Gaza in the past...

Evidence from the attack scene indicated that the second missile exploded in the air, not on impact, suggesting an intention to cause casualties in a wide area instead of just destroying the vehicle.

-- Israel Admits It Lied Over Missile Raid on Camp; The Guardian, 21 Nov 2003.

Flechette Flechettes (left) are small darts that can be packed into tank shells and air-launched missiles, and used as an anti-personnel weapon. They are absolutely not a precision weapon of limited range. Upon detonation, the shell/missile ruptures releasing approximately 5,000 flechettes, that scythe indiscriminately through anything in their path for a distance of up to 300 metres from the point of impact (further if the shell is detonated mid-air). They are the rich person's equivalent of the bomb belt stuffed with nails that a suicide bomber uses to maximize his casualties.

It is illegal under international law for Israel to use such indiscriminate weaponry on the streets of the Gaza Strip, where it will inevitably mow down civilians. Nevertheless, Israel has used flechettes repeatedly in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the second intifada. (It doesn't use them in the West Bank, because the indiscriminate nature of the weapon means that they are too dangerous to use where settlers and Palestinians live in close proximity. [Footnote]).

And that's what the video of the Nusseirat assassination was meant to cover up. It was a genuine operational video of the assassination in question, and it was apparently solid evidence of the IDF's version of events. But the explanation the Israelis gave as to what was going on was a lie, and that's what made the video fraudulent. It did not show two Hellfire missiles of limited shrapnel radius killing the passengers in a car while posing no danger to other people in the neighborhood. It showed one Hellfire missile being fired at the car, and a second - much more powerful missile - being fired a minute later, causing an explosion that rained lethal darts over hundreds of metres, an outcome the IAF knew was absolutely inevitable once it chose a flechette to do the job. That is how - even though they were not in the immediate vicinity of the car - up to 14 civilians were killed in the attack, including two children and the doctor who had gone to the scene to treat the victims of the first explosion. That's how 140 civilians were wounded including these two children...


Unidentified children, two of about 140 civilians wounded when an Israeli helicopter fired a flechette missile into Nusseirat Refugee Camp, 20 October 2003. (al-Quds al-Arabi, 21 Oct 2003).

...and Muhammad Abu-Shmaleh who was struck in the neck by a flechette dart from the second missile, as he rode in a taxi on the same street, and left irreversibly pentaplegic.


(Photo: Ha'aretz)

And that's how you use video "proof" to tell lies.

Of all the people in the Israeli military, political and security establishment who knew the truth of this incident, only ONE came forward to confront the IDF over its lies about how all those civilians were killed at Nusseirat. Were it not for Yossi Sarid, that fraudulent video defense of the IAF's actions on 20 October 2003 would probably still be on-line, falsely "proving" the IAF didn't kill all those civilians, and allowing Israel's defenders to make their usual callous cackling about all those dumb Palestinians blowing themselves up with their own bombs in "work accidents".

Remember the indiscriminate killing at Nusseirat, and the way the Israelis used video "evidence" to lie about what they had done there, every time you watch the current crop of IDF war porn videos on You Tube.

Footnote: "Israel says it uses the flechette only in the Gaza Strip, explaining - no less appallingly - that in Gaza, there is a clear division between Jewish settlements and Palestinian locales". The IDF's 'Permissiveness' in the Territories; Gideon Levy, 9 Feb 2003.

[link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com]
Anonymous Coward (OP)
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01/13/2009 07:02 PM
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Re: A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.
03 June 2008
Racist Language Finds A Home At "Liberal" Ha'Aretz.com

Via Jews sans frontieres, Electronic Intifada ran an article yesterday, about the incongruity of Ha'aretz - Israel's respected "liberal" broadsheet - prominently carrying paid advertisements from "Samson Blinded", a website that openly advocates "the total destruction of the Palestinian people, the murder of large numbers of Muslim civilians, the assassination of the family members of Arab rulers, and the use of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons against dozens of countries".

For me, the significant thing about this is not that Ha'aretz ran the individual ad that ei highlighted, but that this ad is just the latest in a series of examples of racially-provocative content that Ha'aretz has considered suitable for inclusion in its online presence. It is odd that a respected, "liberal" newspaper can in its online incarnation be so utterly tone deaf - and I'm giving it the most charitable description I can think of in calling it that - to what is racially offensive, both in areas where it has indirect control i.e. paid ads and talkbacks, and in it own news reports, for which it is directly responsible.

Some examples from Ha'aretz.com ads.

In addition to the "Our land is not Arab land" ad that ei highlighted yesterday, Ha'aretz ran the following ad on 11 April 2008 - also on behalf of "Samson Blinded" - scaremongering about the proportion of the population that will be of Arab descent in Israel's next generation:

Haaretz 11apr2008

(click to enlarge)

Did anybody at Ha'aretz consider for one minute how offensive it is to advertise the idea that Israel's Arab citizens are a threat to anyone simply because they exist? Would Ha'aretz run an ad from a group that argued there are "too many Jews" in the world, and advocated violent ways of solving the "Jewish problem"?

Or how about this one on a similar theme, published by Ha'aretz in December 2005 on behalf of an Israeli organization called Efrat, which works to prevent abortion, or rather, works to stop the aborting of specifically Jewish fetuses in order to solve the "problem" of too many Arab citizens in Israel:


(via ei, full story here)

Would Ha'aretz have accepted advertising that suggested discouraging abortions among Christian or Muslim women as the only "solution" to some imagined "Jewish problem" caused by the mere existence of Jews in society? I think an Israeli newspaper would see straightaway that it would be grossly offensive to advertise "solutions" to the "problem" of "Jews outbreeding us", so why is it difficult to see that it's offensive to talk that way about Israel's non-Jewish citizens?

Some examples from Ha'aretz.com talkbacks

People get really passionate about the I/P conflict. Give them an online forum where they can vent anonymously behind a fake name, and discussion tends to get very ugly, very quickly. Which is why many online forums dealing with Israeli-Palestinian issues are moderated, to weed out the really nasty stuff before it ever becomes public.

The important thing to remember about Ha'aretz talkbacks is that Ha'aretz.com is one of these moderated forums. Readers who participate in talkback don't just type a comment and, hey presto!, thirty seconds later it pops on screen for the whole world to enjoy and admire. What happens is that you type a comment, receive an acknowledgement that your message has been received and will appear shortly, should it be selected for publication. And then, a few minutes - or a few hours - later, depending on the time of day and the mood of the moderator, it will - if you're lucky - show up on-line. So comments that appear in Ha'aretz talkback appear because they have been approved by a moderator.

And that is why it's really difficult to understand how certain comments manage to get published at Ha'aretz.com. Like this one, which was attached to a 27 July 2007 article about Condoleezza Rice

Talkback condi

(click to enlarge)

Sometimes, there's a fine line between legitimate yet controversial opinions, and speech that transgresses the limits of legitimate debate. That makes a moderator's job difficult from time to time. But this isn't one of those times. There is no conceivable legitimate opinion involved in calling on Condi Rice to "go back to Africa" and swing in the trees. To be fair to Ha'aretz, I wrote to complain about that talkback, and the offending comment was removed within 5 minutes of my writing. But why on earth should Ha'aretz need its readers to write to them pointing out that the correct designation for Condoleezza Rice is "U.S. Secretary of State", not "a n*gger who climbed out of a tree"?

And it's not just Condi Rice. An article of 6 October 2007, discussing South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu's alleged remarks about aspects of Israeli behavior in the OPT reminding him of apartheid South Africa, attracted the following comment:

Talkback tutu

If some Ha'aretz reader has nothing more intelligent to say about Archbishop Tutu than he is a "witch-doctor" with "a doctorate in witchcraft", that's not Ha'aretz's fault. But a moderator at Ha'aretz.com looked at that comment (and the Condi Rice one), apparently thought "Yup, that looks OK to me", and published it. And that is Ha'aretz's fault. It's difficult to imagine what guidelines Ha'aretz moderators work under, or to understand what is the point of moderating the forum in the first place, if that sort of language about Africans and African-Americans is considered acceptable for publication.

And I haven't even mentioned the kind of ugly racist rhetoric about Jews and Arabs that is approved for publication there on a daily basis.

Examples from Ha'aretz's own news reports.

This is getting a little longer than anticipated. I'll continue with this category next time....

Update, 10 Jun 08: Jamie at The Heathlander has some earlier examples of Ha'aretz.com running offensive ads on behalf of Samson Blinded here.

Update, 30 Jul 08: The second part of this post can be read here.

[link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com]
Anonymous Coward
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01/13/2009 07:12 PM
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Re: A comparison of how the same story was presented in the Hebrew- and English-language editions of Ha’aretz newspaper.
interesting, how come you speak hebrew ? are you a jew ? if so why are you leaking this info ?