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Friday, September 23, 2011

Anatomy of an Internet myth (CiFWatch)

CiFWatch does a great job tracking down the source of this Guardian story:

12.22pm: Unconfirmed reports are coming in that Israeli police have begun fining Palestinian drivers for flying flags from their cars. The Ma'an news agency is saying that Israeli police placed a checkpoint in the north of the West Bank and imposed fines of $40 for small flags and $68 for large ones.

The Palestinian Authority media centre issued a statement saying:

It is reported that the Israeli authorities are imposing fines on Palestinians for flying flags on their cars in support of our campaign at the United Nations. It is not a crime to show pride in your country, nor to support the cause of freedom, with symbols that do no harm. Israel seems incapable of understanding the idea of peaceful protest at its illegal occupation.
They found the original story at WAFA, quoting an unnamed "security source." Read the whole thing.

CiFWatch concludes:
It seems as if the sole “source” of the Guardian allegation against Israel was the claim of one official from the PA -controlled Palestinian security service, as relayed to the PA-controlled media.

Moreover, anyone not blinded by ideologically inspired antipathy towards Israel would immediately be skeptical of such a rumor, as it flies in the face of the most rudimentary understanding of the rights of free expression in the Jewish state – which explains, of course, why it was published in the Guardian.
The story is indeed absurd, and the desire by the anti-Israel crowd to automatically accept any crazy story that demonizes the Jewish state is bottomless.