Guardian, Sky and Indy promote Forensic Architecture’s anti-Israel propaganda

Guardian headline

Yesterday, the Guardian, Sky News and the Independent promoted a ‘report’ by radical anti-Israel, pro-BDS groups Al-Haq and Forensic Architecture titled “The Extra-Judicial killing of Ahmad Erekat”.

Amhad Erekat, nephew of the late Saeb Erekat, was killed by Israeli security personnel last June after he rammed his car into a soldiers manning a checkpoint in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis.

Despite their scientific sounding name, the political agenda of Forensic Architecture, a ‘human rights’ research group based out of Goldsmiths University in London, is revealed in their conclusion, which links Erekat’s death to the Black Lives Matter protests:

…Ahmad’s extrajudicial execution took place at a time of global Black-led protests against racist police brutality.

“his killing illustrates both the entangled struggles of Palestinian and Black liberation, as well as the disposability of Black and indigenous bodies in hyper-militarized settler-colonies.”

Throughout the video version of the report – narrated by radical, pro-terror anti-Zionist activist Angela Davis – the IDF is referred to the “Israeli Occupation Forces”, Israel is called a “neo-colonial regime”, and all checkpoints erroneously characterised as “illegal”.

First, to those who don’t recall, security camera footage showed 27-year-old Ahmad Erekat’s car veer off the street into a guarded checkpoint booth. Seconds later, Erekat can be seen running away from his vehicle before Israel Border Police open fire, critically wounding him.

Forensic Architecture (FA) makes three basic points.

  1. They raise doubt about whether the security footage indeed shows a deliberate attack.
  2. They claim that the soldiers’ lives weren’t in danger when they fired at Ahmad.
  3. They claim that Ahmad was denied medical care after he was shot.
  4. They accuse Israeli forces of degrading treatment of Ahmad’s dead body.

Regarding the first point, that the footage doesn’t show a deliberate attack: FA fails to offer an alternative explanation for how Erekat veered wildly right directly into the checkpoint booth.  They merely claim that their video analysis shows that the car wasn’t “rapidly accelerating” into the booth, though what they mean by “rapidly” is less than clear. And, they raise the “possibility” (their word) that the car may have been braking at the very end.

Now, here’s the clip in question:

FA suggests that it may have been a driver “error or a vehicle malfunction”, but the report offers literally zero evidence to back up either far-fetched scenario.  First, what mechanical error would make the car behave that way? And, how could this conceivably be a driver’s error? Are we to believe Erekat’s foot ‘accidentally’ pressed down on the accelerator, and that, at the same time, his hands ‘accidentally’ turned the steering wheel to the right?

Also telling is FA’s own 3-D computer generated video of the car’s trajectory.  At 3:25 of their video, they show a different view of the car’s collision.  Watch (2 seconds in) as the car initially veers slightly to the left, presumably to avoid hitting the rectangle shaped barrier in front of the booth, and enabling the car to achieve greater velocity when making a hard right directly into the booth.

This would suggest that the driver knew exactly what he was doing.

Regarding the second point, that the soldiers’ lives weren’t in danger when they fired at Ahmad: Let’s remember the context. Prior to this incident, there had been dozens of such car ramming attacks in recent years, in which Palestinians intentionally rammed into security personnel or civilians in a similar manner.

Also, Shani Orr Hama Kadosh, the Israeli border police officer whom Ahmad hit, said in an interview that it clearly appeared to be intentional. Times of Israel reported:

“I signaled to him to halt, the car started to slow down, and I moved in his direction,” Kadosh told Channel 13 news. “He saw that I took a step, he looked me in the eye, turned the steering wheel and rammed into me, and I flew to the other side” of the median.

Additionally, despite the fact that the soldier only suffered minor injures, soldiers at the scene saw the car swerve into the booth, and an impact that sent Kodesh flying through the air.

Image illustration by NGO Monitor

Ahmad then exited the vehicle, and was moving erratically away from the scene. Though that scene only lasted a couple of seconds, Ahmad’s movements hardly seem like those of someone completely innocent who had ‘accidentally’ veered his car into soldiers.

Soldiers, given the events that had transpired during that brief time, and who had mere seconds to react, seem to have had reason to believe it was a terror attack.

Finally, it’s telling that, as noted by Joe Truzman, research analyst on Palestinian/Mid-East terror groups, Salafi-Jihadist groups in Gaza recognised it as an intentional terror attack:

Regarding the third point, their claim that Erekat was denied medical care after he was shot: FA claims that Israeli authorities were lying when they said Ahmad received medical care, and that he was denied medical care for 45 minutes – time, they assert, that his life could have been saved.

However, that’s not at all what authorities said.  They were clear that he wasn’t given medical care because he had no pulse when they arrived at the scene.

Here’s the IDF’s statement, which even the Guardian included in their report:

“Contrary to allegations, Erekat was examined at the scene of the incident by medical personnel a few minutes following the attack, and was found to have no pulse or breathing, and therefore no resuscitation procedures were performed on the spot, and his death was pronounced accordingly.

Though this statement is consistent with what police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the day of the incident, FA made no effort to address or refute this explanation.

Regarding  FA’s fourth point: that Israeli forces engaged in degrading treatment of Ahmad’s dead body: This is largely based on the fact that, as they put it, “over an hour and a half after the shooting…Ahmad appears to lay completely naked on the ground, surrounded by around 20 Israeli police and military personnel”.

FA fails to even address the explanation given the day of the incident, as reported by mainstream media outlets, that soldiers feared that the body may have been booby-trapped, and so needed to undress him to make sure there wasn’t an explosive device taped to his body.  It’s reported to be standard practice for the Israeli police’s bomb disposal unit to undress the suspect on-scene, to make sure he is clear.

Let’s remember that FA isn’t just raising questions, but asserting the definite conclusion that Ahmad didn’t in fact intentionally ram into the booth, and was the victim of not just poor or questionable judgement by soldiers, but a racist-inspired extra-judicial execution – an illustration of Israel’s systemic violence against “Black and indigenous bodies”.

To say that they don’t even come close to proving this wild contention is a profound understatement.

The fact that the Guardian, Indy and Sky News promoted an allegation with such flimsy evidence, leveled by radical groups with a clear ideological agenda, is just another example of the British media’s insatiable appetite for content that reinforces their desired narrative.

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  1. says: Grimey

    The Grauniad, Observer and Independent are all known anti-Semitic rags scratching around to dig up something to
    demonise Israel. Since their evidence looks only at their warped view of the incident, it would never stand up in any court and should simply be referred to as “unproven propaganda allegations”.

  2. says: Neil C

    Perhaps these three rags think that by joining forces and printing the same garbage they can convince the average reader that black is white. An attack is an attack in anyone’s language, had it been an accident then why did he try to run away? They must think their readers are extremely gullible or they like the BBC, just prefer to demonize Israel with their absurd conclusions.

  3. says: Dani

    Israeli anti Israel activist Eyal Weizman founded Forensic Architecture. It is one of his political tools to further his rather obsessive agenda for over a decade.

    He is all over Youtube and manages to conflate and denigrate Israel often. Like here and here .

    He is the darling of the left and features across MSM and Marxist outlets like iran co-funded TeleSur, Al Jazeera and RT and the list is very long.
    Weizman may be a prototype of an activist who has managed to parley his hatred of Israel into a global star who is receiving prizes. He is even all over German TV too. Universities invite him often. So do festivals.

    FA does do important work of course outside of Israel. I am still waiting for that HD virtual animation of all underground Hamas infrastructure. Also the Iranian underground sites would be fantastic to fly through virtually.

    His ilk managed to politicize architecture, one of the great achievements of Israel.

    They weaponized architecture and created a narrative around it. An entire theory like CRT.

    You can find one of his early essays or articles online.

  4. says: Dani

    Forensic Architecture wins a European Culture award in 2018 .

    They are showered with award money and other funding .

    In 2007 Weizman wrote ” Ariel Sharon and the Geometry of Occupation… (part 3)”

    On “open Democracy” Weizman’s pseudoscience and hate framed as “academic” goes back to April 2002.

    Surely a good resource !
    if you like to understand how stuffing the discourse with endless nonsense over decades leads to be a darling of the global intelligentsia.

    This kind of “science” reminds me of eugenics and how that was very popular initially.

  5. says: Dani

    Below is the YT info text for this 2017 Eyal Weizman lecture. Not surprisingly, he talks about Israel.

    When watching this, you get an idea how his mind works. The topics he touches upon, the entire hard left canon, conflating very complex subject matter, with hyper morality and a made up pseudoscience jargon which defines these people since, 1917 ?

    Many of his books are published by Verso which is a marxist publisher of many pseudoscience hate books against Israel.

    What I find so guttural nasty about this man and his construction, is that the “compassion” is his wrapping for his hate.
    He hides his desired destruction in a cultured bourgeois narrative. He has managed to normalise, with silk scarves, and black jackets his insane theory in lecture halls.

    Like other people before him, he has turned Jewhate into a “science”.


    Eyal Weizman – GROUND TRUTH: Colonization as Climate Change
    26 February 2017 – De Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Using historical aerial photographs, contemporary remote sensing data, state plans, court testimonies, and nineteenth-century travelers’ accounts, Eyal Weizman explores the threshold of the Negev desert. In the ongoing ‘battle over the Negev,’ (an Israeli state campaign to uproot Palestinian Bedouins from the northern border of the desert), the frontier is not demarcated by fences and walls but by shifting climatic conditions. The frontier is a ‘shoreline’ along which climate change and political conflict are deeply and dangerously entangled.

    His books include Mengele’s Skull (with Thomas Keenan at Sterenberg Press, 2012), Forensic Architecture (dOCUMENTA13 notebook, 2012), The Least of all Possible Evils (Nottetempo 2009, Verso 2011), Hollow Land (Verso, 2007), A Civilian Occupation (Verso, 2003), the series Territories 1,2 and 3, Yellow Rhythms and many articles in journals, magazines and edited books. He has worked with a variety of NGOs worldwide, and was a member of the B’Tselem board of directors. He lectured, curated and organised conferences in many institutions worldwide. “

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