Torygraph’s Credulous Reporting Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Israeli Intelligence
Recently, the Telegraph published what it billed as a major expose of Turkish collusion with Hamas to foment terror attacks against Israel. The story made it appear that Turkey had become a major haven for the international terror operations of one of the most fearsome Islamist militant groups in the region. The claims in the article fit nicely with the prevailing political winds, which portrayed the country’s president as an increasingly tyrannical leader who violently suppressed a Kurdish insurgency while seeking to expand Turkish territorial dominance into northern Syria at the expense of the local indigenous Kurds.
Among the charges leveled, were that Hamas had transplanted some of its major operational officials from Gaza to Turkey; and that there they planned several dramatic terror plots including the potential assassination of two right-wing nationalist Knesset members. The plots, according to Sanchez, were exposed by Israeli intelligence and never came to fruition.
Sanchez notes that Hamas and its supposed nest of terror operatives have been rewarded with personal meetings between the group’s leader, Ismail Haniya and Pres. Erdogan. The clear implication is that Turkey has become a central headquarters for international terrorism.
There are several key elements that Sanchez left out of his reporting which impeach its credibility. First, his source for the entire story is the very Israeli intelligence agency which foiled the terror attacks. Of course, he does not say this explicitly (another deficiency of his reporting). The only hint of where the material on which his reporting is based came from, is a note that he had access to “police interrogation transcripts.” But his source wasn’t the Israeli police (at least not directly). While there is nothing wrong with a journalist using such a source, there is something very wrong with not examining and noting in your reporting the self-interest of one’s source and balancing his interests with those of careful, balanced journalism.
Of course, Israeli intelligence will want to trumpet its successes in disrupting such grave plots against Israeli political figures. And the same agency will be eager to serve the political interest of its boss, the prime minister, by hitting out at a major rival of Israel in the region, Turkey. None of this critical subtext appeared to factor into Sanchez’ presentation.
But the most important and egregious weakness of the report is its denial of any context to Hamas’ purported terror operations. So let’s ask the question Sanchez should have asked in his story: why would Hamas engage in terror? Are acts of terror simply bred into the DNA of all Islamist groups? Or is there a historical context in which the strategic choice of terrorism developed?
Of course, Hamas hasn’t chosen to be a terrorist organization from a wide range of options. If it had its choice, it would surely wish to have a military headquarters in the middle of Ramallah or East Jerusalem as Israeli does (the IDF Kirya is in the middle of Tel Aviv), from which it could dispatch its F-16s and Apache helicopters to defend Palestinians. It would love to emulate Israel with its hundreds of nuclear warheads to use as blackmail against any rival who threatens it. But it doesn’t’ have that choice. Instead, it has primitive rockets and foot soldiers willing to engage in precisely the sorts of acts which pre-state Israeli Jewish terrorists perpetrated when they had no national army and no other choice but terror.
In other words, Hamas’ operations must be seen in the context of Israel’s. The Islamist group does not mount an operation without there being a context. It always is responding to an Israelis act of terror. If we want to condemn the attempted assassination of Israeli leaders, why not condemn as well Israel’s repeated assassination of Hamas‘ senior leaders? Why not condemn another Israeli act of terror as well: repeated invasions of Gaza resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians?
There is no difference between Israel’s terror operations and Hamas’. Yet you would not know this from Sanchez’s reporting. And you should have. He owed it to his readers to not just convey the propaganda peddled by his Israeli security source, but to offer a full, balanced portrait of the relationship between Israel and Hamas.
British progressives call the Telegraph, Torygraph. Now, perhaps we progressives abroad can also call it Bibigraph (just as Israel HaYom is known as Bibiton).
A final note, I do not support terrorism whether perpetrated by Hamas or Israel. Nor am I a defender of Erdogan, who is a deeply flawed, untrustworthy dictator. But as important or more than any of these is accurate journalism. Reporting on the region is so beset with both hidden and blatant bias, that exposing them is vitally important so that readers get a balanced picture of reality, rather than one skewed by propaganda or self-interested intelligence officials.
8 thoughts on “Torygraph’s Credulous Reporting Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: Israeli Intelligence – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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This Haniyeh’s trip abroad will also include Malaysia, Russia, Qatar, Lebanon, Mauritania and Kuwait. Will “they in Jerusalem” make in British media equal articles about meeting these “dictators”? We can have and have a less admiring opinion of Erdogan’s policies and decisions, but he is hardly an dictator. He was democratically elected. Surely Erdogan is a strong nationalistic religious leader, but so is Netanyahu (and all other former Israeli leaders). And so is Trump in USA, but maybe not so religious.
In the middle of this Telegraph article by Raf Sanchez is an “offer”
Neutral analytical information from Jerusalem or Zionist propaganda and fake news?
What always surprises me is the idea that people occupied by a foreign force must not defend themselves. During WW2 underground movements against the German occupation forces where thought to be courageous and necessary. However, if you are a Palestinian you must not protest and just let the occupying force do as it wishes. The Western Democracies seem to have lost all sense of justice when it concerns the Middle East. How far this loss of democratic ideas has now gone is shown by the head of the BBC suggesting that people who criticised the BBC during the elections should be purged from the internet. The Guardian newspaper seems to have similar thoughts as far as its critics are concerned.
I read the Sanchez piece, and it has it’s strengths and weaknesses same as any piece of journalism.
Out of curiosity, what has Sanchez said here that you outright don’t believe?
Also, in your preceding article, you write off Hillel Neuer as an Islamophobic, ‘Judeo-Fascist’, lumping him with the likes of Frank Gaffney.
I don’t believe this is fair. Hillel Neuer has come to the defense of persecuted Uighur Muslims in China, and has received many awards for his activism.
Other than accept ‘dirty money’ from Merona, what has Neuer done to deserve being called an islamophobe or Judeo-Fascist?
You also said that, “There is no difference between Israel’s terror operations and Hamas”, which statement is unfair and erroneous, IMHO.
Hamas has nearly always targeted Israeli civilians, and Israel nearly always targets Hamas militants, usually, but not always, in the course of a military operation (in order to stop rocket attacks).
Of course, this distinction means nothing if you are an innocent Gazan or Israeli civilian being bombed, but that’s not the point.
Have a great day,
@ Dean Dyer: No, there is very little in the piece that is useful. Hamas is reaching out to governments throughout the region. Haniyeh has visited numerous regional capitals for meetings similar to those in Istanbul. The real news here is that Israeli intelilgence is contributing to the demonization of Turkey because of its increasing sympathy for the Palestinian cause. It’s increasing willingness to become a public champion of the cause. Israel is threatened by Hamas political successes and wishes to demonize any country seen as softening its position regarding Hamas. That, of course, Sanchez leaves out of his piece. That would be a real contribution to the debate.
As for Hillel Neuer, curious that you omitted any critical perspective on his pro-Israel shillery. Let’s try this source (formerly Right Web) to offer some needed background:
And how about this outrageous attack on Naomi Klein:
Further criticism of Neuer here.
As for Neuer’s supposed championing of the Uighurs, don’t make me laugh. He championed Darfur when it was in vogue. Now the Uighurs are the flavor of the month. Neuer is a carpetbagger who takes up causes strategically so he gets the most bang for his buck. He needs to take up a Muslim cause every once in a while so he can do precisely what you’re doing–say the Muslim world has no right to attack Israel because there are other Muslim causes far more worthy of their attention. THen he can say: get your own house in order before you attack Israel. It’s a sham really. And you are aiding and abetting the sham.
Finally, by their company so shall ye know them: if Hillel Neuer was the angel you made him out to be he would not be lying down with the flea-bitten dogs at Merona. He has, so he is (one of them).
Absolutely not true. Hamas in fact often targets the IDF. And Israel often targets civilians. Even if it didn’t, the indiscriminate and massive lethality of its weaponry guarantees massive numbers of civilians will be killed. And they are. 70% of the dead in the 2014 massacre in Gaza were civilians.
And let’s dispense with the hypocrisy that only Hamas targets civilians: in pre-state Palestine Israeli Jewish terrorists willingly targeted and killed civilians. Of course it also killed British police and military when it could. But it was just as willing to kill British and Palestinian civlians and did so with abandon. So don’t forget your history as is convenient for hasbarists like you to do.
“And Israel often targets civilians. Even if it didn’t, the indiscriminate and massive lethality of its weaponry guarantees massive numbers of civilians will be killed.”
Apropos of 2014, “Palestinian armed groups have stored munitions in and fired indiscriminate rockets from residential areas in the Gaza Strip,” an Amnesty report noted recently. The groups have also “reportedly urged residents in some areas of the Gaza Strip not to leave their homes” after Israel had warned it would attack the area, all of which have the effect of putting Palestinians at risk in the fighting.
And, we must remember that Israel does make extraordinary efforts to minimize civilian deaths with leaflets, phone calls and ‘roof knocks’, that warn Gazan civilians of impending attacks.
“And how about this outrageous attack on Naomi Klein”.
For someone who regularly calls some Zionists ‘Judea-Nazis’ and ‘Judeo-Fascists’, you really shouldn’t criticize Neuer for accusing Klein of ‘Goebbels-like venom’.
Lastly, nothing you’ve written or quoted regarding Neuer justifies calling him a Judeo-Fascist or Islamophobe. You’ve simply failed to prove that argument.
Being, in your words, a ‘carpetbagger’ or a shill for Israel, isn’t the same as being Judeo-Fascist or Islamophobe.
By doing so, you lower the bar and dilute the case against real Judeo-Fascists and Islamophobes.
I’ve said all I have to say here.
Have a great weekend.
@ Dean Dyer: You’re regurgitating the same old foolish argument hasbaroids have used over the past five years. The weapons Hamas supposedly stores in Gaza are meant to defend Gaza both in the event of Israeli invasion and when Israel violates ceasefires and assassinates its leaders, as it does on a regular basis.
Further, Hamas is under siege in Gaza. It doesn’t exactly have a huge amount of territory to choose from to store its weapons. I’m sure if Hamas had the amount of territory Israel does it would be happy to store them away from civilians. But it doesn’t have that luxury. Further, internatioal laws of war do not say a country may indiscriminately kill civilians if its enemy stores munition in civilian areas. It says it is a war crime to kill civilians in the manner Israel has. So your defense isn’t much of one I’m afraid.
This is the equivalent of taking a dump in the comment thread and sprinkling it with rosewater and saying how wonderful it smells. Israel does not take extraordinary or any other efforts to minimize civilian deaths. It warns civilians to leave their homes without offering them refuge anywhere else. Then when they do leave their homes it mows them down as it declares their neighborhoods a free fire zone in which civilians may be killed. How else do you think 1,600 civilians were murdered in Gaza in 2014? Did they all spontaneously shoot themselves with artillery shells and F-16 munitions?
As for calling people Judeo-fascists, when they are I call them that. Hillel Neuer used Nazi smears against Naomi Klein. Therefore he is a Judeo-fascist. As for his being an Islamophobe, one of the sources I quoted called him just that and offered evidence for the term. You somehow missed that. I wonder why.
Do not comment in this thread again. If you choose, you may comment in other threads. And do read the comment rules which tell commenters to stay on-topic. This one of yours strayed far from the original subject of the blog post.
I only have one problem with your article: You are pushing for the normalization of Hama’s military tactics. You are trying to make it look “Ok” that they have rockets. The truth is that Palestinians are not interested in having military offensive against Israel. All of those rocket attacks against civilians do NOT work in favor of Palestinians. If anything, it destabilizes the region, it harms Palestinians, it gets them killed, it gets their homes demolished, it terrorizes the local population, etc.
The simple truth is that people are like all other people – who would have believed? They just want to raise their children in peace, they want good schools, they want clean streets, good roads, they want a good medical infrastructure, they want to just wake up in the morning and go to work and make money and buy food and clothing for their children…
Ask any Israeli Arab if he wants to fight Israel. Ask any Israeli Arab if they prefer to be ruled by Jordan or Syria.
They need to simply STOP their acts of violence, accept whatever borders exist right now, and then take the same path Native Americans took with the invading Europeans who created the United States of America. They went through the court system and got their own lands ratified and formalized and they are now left alone to live their lives in peace (Native Americans have massive lands in the US, and they are exempt from the Federal Government rules and regulations).
The involvement of foreign regimes in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is what’s keeping it alive. If nobody was funneling money and weaponry into the region, the conflict would be concluded years ago.
I have far more than “one problem” with your comment.
Don’t tell me what I’m doing. Don’t summarize what I think or believe. You’ll inevitably be wrong as you are here. I have not normalized Hamas’ tactics. I have merely pointed out that they are roughly the same tactics used by the pre-state Israeli terror underground. And pointed out that the state of Israel have far more massive firepower than Hamas. Beyond that I have explicitly said I’m opposed to violence on both sides.
Nope. But hey, if you’re OK with Israel having nukes, then why shouldn’t it be OK for Hamas to have rockets?
Do NOT try to tell us what Palestinians are interested in. Inevitable, you will be wrong. Do not speak for Palestinians. Do not tell us what they believe or think. That is beyond chutzpah.
And you, the champion of Palestinians, are going to tell them what works in their favor and what doesn’t. Presumptuous, much?
Yes, we’re all alike. Except that some of us are more alike than others. For instance, Palestinians are six times more likely to be killed by Israelis than the other way around. For instance, Israel has nukes and Hamas has bows and arrows.
To quote Reagan: there he goes again! Tell us what Palestinians want. I’ll tell you something they want that will blow your mind: justice, a land of their own, national rights, freedom. All things they don’t have. All things Israel deprives them of.
They’re not “Arabs” to you. They’re Palestinian. And again, telling us what all of them believe. Shame on you!
I’ll tell you who Israeli-Palestinians would like to be ruled by: Israeli Palestinians (and Israeli Jews and Christians, too). In other words, they want to be ruled by rulers who represent them fully and equally. Not as it is now where they are ruled by Israeli Jewish politicians who hate them.
No, you need to stop telling them what to do. Shut up and listen to them for a change. Would that kill you?
Indeed they do. And 2 million dead later Native Americans have shrunk to a tiny number compared to pre-white colonization. They suffer from alcoholism, domestic violence, and other major public health plagues. Thanks to white genocide against them. So yes, Palestinians should just sit back and take whatever punishment the Israeli Jewish white man metes out to them.
You have had your say in this thread. Do not comment here again. You may comment in other threads if you choose.