‘Guardian’ publishes contributors who reject Israel’

Media monitor claims that British newspaper consistently publishes commentary from Palestinians who reject Israel’s legitimacy.

By JONNY PAUL, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
September 1, 2011 05:21
3 minute read.
A selection of international newspapers [file]

Selection of newspapers 311. (photo credit: The Jerusalem Post archives)

 
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LONDON – The Guardian newspaper consistently publishes commentary from Palestinians who reject Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state and the two-state solution for the Middle East, a London-based media watchdog organization has said this week.

In a study published on Friday, titled “Voices from the conflict: Israeli and Palestinian op-eds in The Guardian,” media monitor Just Journalism said this was consistent with an editorial line that questions the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state and that the newspaper’s editorial line is critical of any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state because it would jeopardize the Palestinian right of return.

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“Since its involvement in the release of the Palestine papers, the Guardian has maintained an editorial line that goes beyond simply endorsing the end of Israeli occupation and the creation of a Palestinian state,” the study states. “The paper is critical of any recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, specifically because it would hazard ‘the right of return’ – the admission of millions of Palestinians that would turn Israel into an Arab-majority state.”

A spokesman for Guardian News & Media told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that it was committed to publishing a wide range of viewpoints in a fair and consistent manner.

“We were not approached by Just Journalism and remain unaware of their terms of reference and methodology. The Guardian is committed to publishing a wide range of voices, and covers any matter, including conflict, in a way which is fair and consistent,” the spokesman said.

The study, however, looks at comment pieces by Israelis and Palestinians that appeared in the Guardian in the first six months of this year and concluded that the newspaper “instinctively promotes the views of those who oppose the very concept of two states for two peoples.”

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In its findings, Just Journalism also said that the Guardian repeatedly provided a platform to Palestinians who see the Jewish right to self-determination as either irrelevant or unacceptable.

“The Guardian gave preference to those on the other side of the conflict who see Israel’s very existence as an intolerable intrusion. Characteristic of this was the comment pieces by those affiliated with Hamas, which believes that there can be no resolution until Israel is physically destroyed by force,” the report states.

According to the study, in total, the Guardian published 11 comment pieces written by nine Palestinian contributors, as opposed to six written by four Israelis, the majority of which dealt with the Arab Spring rather than the conflict itself.

Three of the Palestinians who contributed op-eds during this period were either members of Hamas or strongly affiliated with it, and have endorsed terrorist attacks. According to the report also, another four were Palestinian nationalists who reject Israel’s legitimacy.

“The Guardian has long been associated with its endorsement of the Palestinian cause, and its criticism of the occupation,” Just Journalism’s Media Analyst Chris Dyszyn´ski said. “However, this new report suggests that the real sticking point for the paper is not the number of settlements in the West Bank, but Israel’s very nature as a national home for the Jewish people.

“While you would expect ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’ to endorse Israeli concessions in the name of the two-state solution – and to promote the views of liberal Israelis who don’t believe their government is doing enough for that solution – it seems perverse to overwhelmingly plump for Palestinians who don’t share that view.

“The decision to repeatedly offer a platform to signed-up Hamas members is the logical, if distasteful, outcome of its preference for those who fundamentally disagree with Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state,” he said.

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