Mads Gilbert is a Norwegian doctor, commentator and “radical Maoist politician” who openly supported the “moral right” of Al Qaeda to murder thousands of Americans on 9/11.
Gilbert was also one of the authors of a letter published in the medical journal Lancet during the Gaza war which accused Israel of intentionally “massacring” Palestinian women and children. The journal’s editor later apologized for the letter, explaining that it “did not convey the level of complexity that is the reality in Israel.”
More recently, Gilbert was in the news after he was banned ‘for life’ from entering Israel.
Though the Guardian and Independent both covered Gilbert’s banning, a look at the way in which they cited a quote from the Israel Foreign Ministry about Gilbert is quite revealing.
Here are the key passages in The Independent’s report on Nov. 14th by Ben Lynfield:
Dr Gilbert is on the left-wing fringe in Norway. In 2001, he told Dagbladet that the 9/11 attacks in the US were a result of decades of Western foreign policy and that he supported terrorist attacks against the US in that “context”.
An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Paul Hirschon, recalled those remarks yesterday, adding: “He’s not on the side of decency and peace and he’s got a horrible track record. I wouldn’t be surprised if his acquaintances are among the worst people in the world.”
Now, here are the key passages in a report in The Observer (sister site of the Guardian) on Nov. 15th by Kate Shuttleworth, which uses the same quote by Hirschon:
During the war, Gilbert charged that Israel was committing “state terrorism at the highest levels”.
An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman, Paul Hirschon, replied Dr Gilbert was “not on the side of decency and peace and he’s got a horrible track record. I wouldn’t be surprised if his acquaintances are among the worst people in the world.”
Did you notice the differing accounts of Hirschon’s comments?
The Indy made it clear that Hirschon was responding to Gilbert’s support for al-Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11 when suggesting that he “was not on the side of decency”, while the Guardian omitted this context, making it appear as if Hirschon was merely responding to the Norwegian doctor’s criticism of Israel.
Further, CiF Watch contacted Paul Hirschon who noted to us that he didn’t speak to Shuttleworth or anyone from the Guardian about their story, and that it was during his conversation with The Independent about Gilbert’s support for the al-Qaeda attacks that he opined that the Norwegian activist was “not on the side of decency and peace”.
Whatever the reason for Shuttleworth’s omission, the bottom line is that Guardian readers were denied key information which would make Hirschon’s criticism of Gilbert possible to understand.