A Guardian article by freelance journalist Carlton Reid (Why cycling in Palestine is a political act”, March 10) profiled a Palestinian cyclist named Sohaib Samara, who, as an example of how cycling in the West Bank for Palestinians is a putatively “political act”, made the following claim:
On one ride [in the West Bank] when he and a friend were pulled over by an Israeli army patrol, Samara says he heard the soldiers asking, in Hebrew, whether they should shoot the pair in the arms.
“I was not afraid for myself because at the end of the day, if I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die,” said Samara. “But I was worried that if I tried to defend myself or even argue [that the soldiers] had no right to stop us, they might later blow up my family’s house.”
We tweeted the journalist to ask if he attempted to fact check the wild claim that Israeli soldiers were considering shooting him.
Additionally, as another Tweeter noted, Reid’s explanation on why he didn’t bother fact-checking the Palestinian claim makes no sense:
What on Earth is this defence of a failure to fact check a piece “….was clearly historical how could @IDF confirm or deny it?”
Is it suggesting you can only confirm or deny a future event?
— Daniel D-S (@dandoll) March 11, 2020
Moreover, the apparent credulity of the journalist and his editor in the face of Samara’s wild claim that soldiers considered shooting him for no particular reason – or that the army would have blown up his family’s house if he complained – is staggering, and provides another example of how the caricature of Israeli malevolence is ingrained in the Guardian imagination.
- Palestinian ‘right of return’ is really about ending Israel’s existence (CAMERA)
- BBC News coverage of terrorism in Israel – Feb. 2020 (BBC Watch)
- Guardian op-ed on Israeli elections ignores anti-Zionist elephant in the room (UK Media Watch)