The pro-Palestinian propaganda, factual errors and the blurring of fact with mere claims in a recent Belfast Telegraph article would make Guardian editors cringe. The deceit in the piece (“How Palestine changed my life: NI teacher Charlotte Carson who stood in front of Israeli tanks to run for Assembly”, Oct. 13) begins in the first few sentences:
Belfast woman who risked her life acting as a human shield to prevent Israeli soldiers shooting civilians and demolishing Palestinian homes is to run as an SDLP candidate in the Assembly election. Charlotte Carson stood in front of bulldozers and accompanied women and children past army checkpoints in Gaza and the West Bank
Her friend Rachel Corrie, an American student, was crushed to death by an Israeli Defence Force armoured bulldozer in 2003.
As is evident further into the article, it’s merely the (completely unsubstantiated) claim by Charlotte Carson that, while volunteering with a radical anti-Israel group during the height of the 2nd Intifada, she was preventing Israeli soldiers from “shooting civilians”. The fact that the Belfast Telegraph journalist, Suzanne Breene, failed to make this distinction is a violation of the accuracy clause’s demand that the press must “distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact”.
The journalist also fails to note that an Israeli court ruled, in response to a lawsuit by Rachel Corrie’s parents, the her tragic death was an accident, not the result of criminal behavior by the driver of the bulldozer.
After two years as a volunteer in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), which was blacklisted by the Israeli authorities, Ms Carson was arrested and deported from the occupied Palestinian territories.
The journalist makes no effort to explain that ISM was “blacklisted” by Israel because it is openly pro-terrorism, and has directly supported terrorist organisations by, among other activities, serving as human shields for terrorist operatives, and even sheltering Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives involved in suicide bombing attacks.
Also unmentioned by the article is the reason why Carson was arrested and deported: she reportedly disrupted IDF soldiers operating against Palestinians who threw Molotov cocktails at them, preventing the terrorists’ detention. According to the
soldiers, she also exposed a previous IDF ambush by shining a flashlight on them, jeopardizing the soldiers’ lives.
The piece continues:
As an ISM volunteer, Ms Carson risked her life on numerous occasions. In film footage from 2003, she can be seen walking to within a few feet of an Israeli tank in Tulkarm on the West Bank to challenge soldiers who had opened fire as children were returning home from school.
“We shoot little children, yes,” a soldier tells her. Ms Carson says: “Yes, you do. I’ve seen it myself. You have a conscience. You have a mind of your own. You can choose not to shoot children.”
This is a fabrication.
In the video in question, there is no footage of soldiers firing at children. At roughly the 20 minute mark, you see children throwing stones at an IDF vehicle, and the soldiers demanding that they leave. There’s one brief scene seemingly showing the army vehicle firing a warning shot in the area, but, due to the way the film is edited, even this is hard to verify. The mission of the IDF in that short clip is unclear, but in the exchange between Carson and the soldier, it’s clear that the soldier was being sarcastic. In other words, he was mocking her concerns that he was going to shoot children – rather than, as most readers would surmise, admitting to shooting kids.
The article continues:
The ISM engaged in non-violent direct action to protect civilians. Its members paid a heavy price for their activities. Ms Corrie (23) died when an Israeli bulldozer drove over her as she stood protesting outside the home of a Palestinian family about to be razed.e
As we already showed, the claim that ISM is non-violent is extremely misleading.
Further, Corrie was not killed “outside the home of a Palestinian family about to be razed”. As we demonsrated in a 2013 complaint to the Guardian on the same subject, which resulted in a partial correction, it was proved in court that Ms. Corrie was not in fact protecting a house from demolition at the time of her death. The judge ruled that “The mission of the IDF force on the day of the incident was solely to clear the ground…to expose hiding places used by terrorists, who would sneak out from these areas and place explosive devices with the intent of harming IDF soldiers”. The mission, the judge noted, “did not include, in any way, the demolition of homes.”
So, once again, the article violates the accuracy clause
The article continues:
Carson told the Belfast Telegraph: “Fear was not an emotion I felt. I was sad and I was angry. I had to do something because, if you witness a crime against a weaker person, you take the side of the weaker person.”
The journalist of course failed to query Carson on her feelings towards the scores of “weaker” Jewish civilians criminally murdered by powerful suicide bombs – some of which were orchestrated by the very terrorists her group was assisting.
The accusations continue – here, quoting Carson directly:
“It was so messed up – [Israeli soldiers would] be listening to Bob Marley and shooting children. I met many women peace activists whose sons had served, or were still serving, in the Israeli Defence Forces so I’d always ask the soldiers what their mothers would think of their actions.”
There is nothing in the article that even gently pushes back against Carson’s hateful and completely baseless libel that Israeli soldiers were murdering Palestinian children. Nor was there any context about the murderous Palestinian terror campaign during Carson’s stint at ISM, one which did in fact target innocent men, women and children at bus stops, cafes and pizza shops, which resulted in over 1,100 Israeli deaths, with thousands more maimed.
The article represents sloppy, propagandistic and advocacy-driven reporting at it’s worst, and we’ll be contacting editors to demand that the multiple errors be corrected.