Former McClatchy Washington bureau chief, Leo Rennert, described the Netanyahu-Obama summit as a “mutual charm offensive” that “didn’t disappoint.”
According to Rennert, “Obama gushed that he and Bibi had an ‘excellent discussion’ and emphasized their ‘extraordinary friendship'” and the “unbreakable bond” between both countries. On issues regarding Israel’s nuclear ambiguity policy, Obama acknowledged Israel’s “unique security requirements” and said that he would “never ask Israel to undermine its security.” Regarding Israel’s liberalization of the Gaza blockade, Obama said that the movement of more goods had been done “more quickly and more effectively than had been expected.” As for his personal relations with Netanyahu, Rennert noted that “the President said he’s convinced that Netanyahu is ‘prepared to take risks for peace,’ agrees with him that the two sides should move to direct negotiations, complimented Bibi on showing restraint on settlement construction, and told reporters that he has trusted Netanyahu since ‘I met him before I was elected president.'”
The meeting, clearly orchestrated to assuage fears that there had been a serious rift in the relationship between Israel and the United States, was seen as an opportunity for the U.S. administration to reset diplomatic efforts with Israel after months of discord in the hopes of making tangible progress in the peace process. With that said, political commentator David Frum warned that we shouldn’t “trust the smiles” that were shared at the summit, stating that “the rift between the Obama administration and Israel remains real — and is widening by the day.” Writing in the July 10 edition of the National Post, Frum noted that Obama failed to back the “40-year-old understanding between the United States and Israel over nuclear policy” at a meeting convened by the signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Frum also said that Obama has offered “no comment” on whether his administration will acknowledge the Bush-Sharon memorandum of understanding on the natural growth of existing settlements.
From our perspective as a media watchdog, we wanted to ascertain whether the Canadian media coverage of the summit was fair and accurate. The following is an analysis of the good, the bad, and the ugly reporting that was produced by the Canadian media.
The Good: Straightforward News Minus the Spin
The Globe and Mail gave prominent front-page news coverage to the summit, the only other newspaper to offer such placement other than the National Post. Jerusalem correspondent Patrick Martin’s analysis of the meeting was refreshingly straightforward and without the subtle snarky anti-Israel remarks that we’ve come to expect from his reporting.
Here’s a choice quote from his report: “Tuesday’s summit was a triumph for Mr. Netanyahu. He got the three Rs he was seeking: respect that had been lacking at their previous meeting; recognition that Israel had made efforts to advance the peace process; and reassurance that Mr. Obama would not allow Iran – which Mr. Netanyahu described as ‘the greatest new threat on the horizon’ – to acquire nuclear weapons.”
The Bad Part I: Obama’s Condemnation of Abbas Ignored Altogether
While reporters parsed every word that both statesmen said, interestingly, what was omitted by the Canadian media were the condemnatory words that Obama had aimed at Mahmoud Abbas.
As Leo Rennert reported in American Thinker Magazine in an analysis on the real news that came out from the summit:
“Until now, Obama has been cautious to the point of reticence in taking Abbas to task — mentioning only that the Palestinian leader had to do more to end anti-Israel incitement and to prevent terrorist attacks. But this time, Obama took the gloves off.
‘It is very important that Palestinians not look for excuses for incitement, that they’re not engaging in provocative language, that at the international level they are maintaining a constructive tone, as opposed to looking for opportunities to embarrass Israel,’ Obama declared.
That’s not going to go down well in Ramallah and put a greater squeeze on Abbas to finally crack down on vile anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement in Palestinian media and mosques under his control. Obama’s mention of Palestinian anti-Israel incitement on the international level was a direct rebuke to Abbas’ failed campaign to prevent Israel’s accession to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a prestigious club of the world’s economic and financial heavyweights.”
The US administration is well aware of the reality of Palestinian doublespeak, whereby Palestinian leaders effuse peaceful pragmatic statements in English, while offering vile anti-Israel incitement in Arabic to its masses through official PA organs (media, school textbooks, clerical sermons, etc.). Despite this and in an apparent contradiction of Obama’s earlier condemnation of Abbas at the summit, on July 9 Obama said that Abbas has shown a commitment to peace and “restraint” in recent months. This from the man who embraced the Butcher of Darfur, Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir, in declaring that “We must also take a decisive stance of solidarity alongside fraternal Sudan and President Omar al-Bashir.” Surprisingly, it’s worth noting that the CBC was the only Canadian media outlet that we’re aware of which acknowledged Obama’s statement against Palestinian incitement in reports filed by Neil MacDonald on The National and on Power and Politics.
For further examples of PA incitement and provocations, please see the following Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) alerts which recently reported that Abbas has:
Additionally, Elliot Abrams, fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, penned an important op-ed worth reading that’s directly related to this matter. Abrams’ latest was published in the New York Daily News yesterday entitled “The two faces of Mahmoud Abbas: He says one thing to the Palestinians, another to Obama.”
The Bad Part II: CBC Reporter Trips up on Mideast Lexicon
Covering the summit from Washington, CBC correspondent Paul Hunter rightly acknowledged that “everything in this issue (Mideast peace process) is complicated,” so much so that he even tripped up on the Mideast lexicon himself.
In an interview that he conducted with CBC News Network anchor Heather Hiscox on July 6, Mr. Hunter incorrectly claimed that Israel might extend “the moratorium on settlement building on east Jerusalem.” To watch this report online please click hereor on the image to the right.
Of course, contrary to this statement and as this CBC.ca article confirms, Israel’s 10-month freeze on the building of new Jewish settlements set to expire in September, exists in the West Bank only, not east Jerusalem. We trusted that this was just a simple slip of the tongue for Mr. Hunter, but it was an important misstatement as he had later contended that “Maybe Netanyahu agrees to extend the moratorium (HRC Note: which CBC viewers are left to think applies to east Jerusalem)… as a way to start direct talks, but Netanyahu is ideologically opposed to that and his supporters, the people who keep him in power are opposed to that… the Palestinians will be furious if the moratorium is allowed to end.”
Rest assured, we immediately communicated our concerns to the CBC and we’re happy to report that Mr. Hunter’s subsequent coverage didn’t include this mistake.
The Ugly: Cyberpresse Provides Forum for Crude Anti-Semitic Commentary
At HonestReporting Canada, we are all for a broad marketplace of ideas and a wide spectrum of debate that exists on the message boards of a media outlet’s online news articles, however, Canadian hate laws rightly recognize that there are limits to free expression, namely when hateful anti-Semitic commentary is given a platform.
A blog posting by La Presse correspondent Richard Hetu which was hosted on the Cyberpresse website, saw its message board exploited and used as a launching pad to spew vicious anti-Semitic rhetoric, replete with outrageous Jewish conspiracy theories and charges that Israel was trying to commit a genocide against the Palestinians.
Here’s just a short sampling of some of the comments:
July 7, 2010 6:58 p.m. abelzo
And yes, it’s the powerful lobby of circumcised Israel that dictates the conduct of the world. Who will finally stop the “chosen people” from polluting the planet?
abelzo 7 juillet 2010 18h58
Et oui, c’est le puissant lobby des circoncis d’Israel qui dictent la conduite du monde. Qui va enfin arrêter “le peuple élu” de polluer la planète?
July 7, 2010 6:30 p.m. antiantagoniste
The USA is controlled by the American Jewish lobby … nothing surprising for the Israeli file …
antiantagoniste 7 juillet 2010 18h30
Les USA sont contrôlés par le lobby juif américain… rien de surprenant pour le dossier Israeliens…
July 7, 2010 11:25 p.m. atantekifume
The Jews control everything in the U.S.: party funding, the President, TV, newspapers, hollywood, American thinkers and philosophers are mostly Jewish, universities (harvard, berkeley, etc), etc … The Jews want war in iran, that’s their whim of the moment (after Irak) … and they will have it. In the words of France’s ambassador to Great Britain: this small arrogant country will cause the third world war.