Monday, June 25, 2012

@HaaretzOnline And Electronic Intifada Team Up To Use Twisted Quote To Taint Israel

Here we go again.
This time, Ali Abunimah's Electronic Intifada claims that
Eli Yishai, the interior minister [of Israel], said recently that he would use "all the tools to expel the foreigners," claiming that "Israel belongs to the white man."
Here is a snapshot of the page, with the relevant quote in the second paragraph under the headline "Overt racism"

One might suppose Abunimah would supply a link.
And he seems he does--but not really.

Look at the bottom of the graphic and you'll see that the link for the words "Eli Yishai" go back to the same page.

Apparently Abunimah thinks he is as good as source as any for the quote.
This is more than just a case of Abunimah's sloppiness.
It is a case of dishonesty.

The source of Abunimah's claim could be Haaretz, which has an article Israel enacts law allowing authorities to detain illegal migrants for up to 3 years, which claims:
Meanwhile on Sunday, Israeli daily Maariv published an interview with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, in which he stated that most of the "Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man."
The problem--for both Haaretz and Electronic Intifada--is that Haaretz botched the quote: Eli Yishai does not say what Haaretz, and Electronic Intifada, claim he did.

The Jewish Press looked into what on its face is an odd quote to begin with, and asks Did Ha’aretz Turn Eli Yishai Into a Racist ‘White Man’?:
The original Hebrew in Maariv says:
רוב האנשים שבאים הנה הם מוסלמים שחושבים שהארץ בכלל לא שייכת לנו, לאדם הלבן. כמה מהם דיברו על כך בגלוי בטלוויזיה. אני הולך להמשיך את המאבק שלי עד סוף הקדנציה, בלי פשרות. אפעיל את כל הכלים לגירוש זרים. שלא יהיה כאן אף מסתנן
The first sentence is better translated as:
“Most of the people coming here are Moslems who think the land doesn’t belong to us at all, to the white man.”
With the more accurate translation above, it is clear that Yishai is not expressing his perspective, but those of the infiltrators.

The subsequent sentence, which Ha’aretz excised, leaves no doubt about whose views he was expressing:
“A number of them have said that openly on television.”
Eli Yishai is not saying Israel belongs to the ‘white man’. Eli Yishai is quoting the infiltrators, and it is the infiltrators who have said that Israel doesn’t belong to the “white man.”

Ha’aretz left out one little sentence. But that sentence dictates whether Yishai was promoting racism. The real question then, is whether Ha’aretz omitted it purposefully or by mistake? Unfortunately, its past record suggests the former over the latter.
I've been told that the post on The Electronic Intifada did in fact link to Ha'aretz--but if Abunimah had second thoughts about the quote, then let him admit his mistake and remove that part of the article, so as not to mislead his readers.

Or is that his intent?

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