‘Comment is Free’ contributor John Pilger spins lies about Gaza War casualties

CiF Watch’s profile on ‘Comment is Free’ contributor John Pilger sums up the Australian journalist and documentary maker, thus:

John Pilger is a darling of the extreme Left, and, perhaps, one of the most vociferous demonizers of the Jewish state in the mainstream media. In his writings on “Palestine”, he regularly equates Israel to Nazi Germany, propagates the “Israel lobby” and Jewish conspiracy lie, accuses Israel of practicing racism and ethnic cleansing  and regards Israel as the most dangerous country in the world (after the United States).

In fact according to Pilger “the Zionist state remains the cause of more regional grievance and sheer terror than all the Muslim states combined.” 

So, given Pilger’s deep-seated hatred for the Jewish state, the following lie in his most recent CiF piece is not surprising.

Pilger’s piece, ‘Julia Gillard is no feminist hero‘, Oct. 15, represents a broad critique of Australia’s Prime Minister, but also includes this passage:

“A passionate supporter of the Israeli state, Gillard in 2009 went on a junket to Israel arranged by the Australian Israel Cultural Exchange during which she refused to condemn Israel’s blood-fresh massacre of 1,400 mostly women and children in Gaza.”

In fact, even the link Pilger uses in his piece – a report by Harriet Sherwood in 2009 – doesn’t support the stats he cites. 

While Sherwood’s report lists statistics (from the NGO Gaza Community Health Programme) on the number of children (under 18) killed in Cast Lead, nowhere does she cite the number of women killed.

In fact, even figures by the highly politicized pro-Palestinian NGO B’Tselem contradict Pilger’s numbers.

B’tselem reports that 452 of the 1387 Palestinian casualties were children or women.  So, even assuming B’tselem is correct – and Israeli figures, by the way, significantly contradict B’tselem’s findings – Pilger’s claim that those killed in the Gaza War were “mostly women and children” is simply a lie.

Given Pilger’s animosity towards Jews and Israel, we’re not surprised that he would engage in such disinformation.  

However, aren’t we to assume that ‘Comment is Free’ editors at least engage in basic fact checking before essays are published?

The Guardian Readers Editor, Chris Elliott, can be contacted at this email:


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