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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Guardian's bias in covering Sheikh Raed Salah

From The Guardian:
Sheikh Raed Salah, a leading Palestinian activist, has been detained in London after he entered the UK while banned from the country.

Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was detained on Tuesday night by police.

The home secretary, Theresa May, said officials from the UK Border Agency were taking steps to remove Salah from the country. She said an investigation had been launched into how he managed to get into the UK.

...Sarah Colborne, director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), insisted that Salah was the leader of a legitimate political organisation. He rejected all forms of racism, including anti-semitism, she said.

"Sheikh Raed Salah is the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, the largest movement for Palestinians in Israel," Colborne said.

"This is a legitimate organisation which Israel has never moved to ban.

"Raed Saleh regularly speaks at venues across Israel where he has considerable support amongst the Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population.

"Sheikh Raed has been elected as mayor of his home town, Um al-Fahm, three times. He has never been convicted of anti-semitism in Israel.


"Before coming to Britain, he faced horrific allegations of anti-semitism, which he completely refuted."
This article is a perfect example of media bias.

The entire article is 13 paragraphs long - and of those 13, fully 6 are given to someone defending Raed Salah.

There is nothing in the article that mentions any possible reason why Salah might be considered undesirable. It doesn't mention why he has been arrested and imprisoned in Israel, or his ties to Hamas, or his regular incitement against Jews (every week or so he confidently declares that Israel plans to demolish the Al Aqsa Mosque, trying as hard as he can to inflame Muslim passions and start a new intifada.) To the Guardian, he is simply a "Palestinian activist."

Even worse, the Guardian allows an apologist for Salah to assert that he is not anti-semitic.

Just one problem:


He is.

And it doesn't take too much effort to prove that.

From Ha'aretz, January 29, 2008:
The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel's Northern Branch, Ra'ad Salah, was charged Tuesday in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court with incitement to violence and racism, over a fiery speech he gave a year ago in which he invoked the blood libel.

During the speech at the February 16, 2007 protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz, Salah accused Jews of using children's blood to bake bread.

"We have never allowed ourselves to knead [the dough for] the bread that breaks the fast in the holy month of Ramadan with children's blood," he said. "Whoever wants a more thorough explanation, let him ask what used to happen to some children in Europe, whose blood was mixed in with the dough of the [Jewish] holy bread."

"Great God, is this a religion?" he asked. "Is this what God would want? God will deal with you yet for what you are doing."

The rally was called to protest the planned Mughrabi bridge construction in Jerusalem's Old City. Addressing the 1,000-strong crowd and assembled press, Salah accused Israel of attempting to rebuild the Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount while drenched in Arab blood.

"Whoever wants to build a house of God should not do so while our blood is still on his clothes, on his doorposts, in his food, in his drink, being passed along from one terrorist general to the next terrorist general," he said.

Following the speech and Friday prayers, the crowd began rioting and throwing stones at police. According to the prosecution, Salah's speech constituted a "call to commit acts of violence and encouragement of acts of violence, which given the content and context, there was a real possibility that it could lead to acts of violence."

The prosecution said Salah made the remarks "with the objective of inciting racism."

In an interview with Ashams radio, Salah said in response that, "I am willing to repeat before the court all the things I said at the Friday sermon in Wadi Joz or any other meeting with journalists."

"Our statements are the products of conviction, and I will not recant," he continued.

Salah was released from prison in 2005 after serving some two years for having contact with a foreign agent, as well as financial crimes related to the Islamic Movement.
This is not only a problem with the Guardian. No other newspaper coverage of Salah regularly mentions his blood libel, which is a piece of information that should be attached to his name every single time it is mentioned in a news report.

But The Guardian deserves to be singled out here for an article that is completely void of context and that is nearly 50% apologetics for a terrorist supporter, regular inciter to violence and an unabashed anti-semite.