Rocket attacks on Israel, and reporters without borders (of integrity)

A guest post by Geary

Harriet Sherwood’s latest report contains the tellingly typical sentence:

The weekend death and injury toll was the highest since Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week military assault on Gaza just over three years ago. [emphasis added]

Note “assault” (that is “thuggish behaviour”) and “on Gaza”. Not on Hamas, mind, but on Gaza.

I say typical because this is the usual wording carefully selected by Guardian writers to describe Cast Lead. A glance through the newspaper archives for 2010 reveals the following (my italics):

Cast Lead Israel’s military offensive against Gaza

Israel’s Cast Lead offensive in which 1400 Palestinians were killed

Operation Cast Lead (the attack on Gaza)

… the anniversary of Cast Lead, the war on Gaza.

Not once is any context given, no reason, no mention of Hamas or rockets. Just a mindless war on Gaza.

 How did the other UK so-called quality report Operation Cast Lead in relation to Gaza? The Telegraph, not sharing the Guardian’s Israel obsession, mentions it just twice and in the most neutral of fashions:

Israel’s controversial military offensive in Gaza

have been fired by Islamist groups in Gaza [into Israel] since Israel’s offensive, known as Cast Lead, was concluded.

The Times* has five mentions, some neutral:

            Israel was conducting Operation Cast Lead into Gaza

But in others there appears at first sight to be a similar tone to the Guardian:

… Israel’s three-week Israeli assault on Gaza

… the devastation of Operation Cast Lead when Israel killed about 1400 Palestinians

But the impression is soon dispelled if one reads on. The Times, being a proper newspaper, gives context. The two extracts above are part of the following wider picture:

… a three-week Israeli assault on Gaza in response to Hamas rocket attacks

In Gaza, Iran’s other protégé, Hamas, is risking a new war with Israel, two years after the devastation of Operation Cast Lead when Israel killed about 1400 Palestinians in an attempt to end Palestinian rocket fire into southern Israel and topple the Islamists who rule the country.

Would the likes of Sherwood write of “Britain’s assault on Libya” or “the UK’s war on Afghanistan”? Of course not. But with Israel anything goes. And the first thing to go is journalistic integrity.

(*Times’ pay wall prevents direct link to stories noted)


The Times has recently been caught using a blatantly false caption about Israel’s Iron Dome system – used to protect Israeli communities in the south from Gaza rocket barrages. See the Honest Reporting expose, here.

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