Making George Orwell Proud — AP: FACT CHECK: Netanyahu speech ignores rival claims
Oh, where to begin. First, this is from the AP, the wire service which falsely told the world last Thursday that President Obama told Israel it has to “return to the 1967 borders”. So when AP headlines an article with the term “FACT CHECK”, it is not a grain of salt that is need, but a boatload full.
And reading this so-called “fact check” confirms that it is exactly what one has come to expect from the propaganda mill at AP. To highlight AP’s blatant disregard of the most basic journalistic ethics, I have added, for each “fact” that AP “checks”, a fact-check of AP’s commentary.
Here is a sampling of Netanyahu’s claims along with what he did not mention.
NETANYAHU: “You don’t need to send American troops to Israel. We defend ourselves.”
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: Israel is a leading recipient of American foreign aid, including more than $1 billion in military assistance each year.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: AP’s statement avoids the issue. The fact is, no member of the United States armed forces has ever been killed defending Israel against attack. Israel defended itself in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973 and against all the terrorist actions directed against it from surrounding countries before, during and since without asking the United States to supply troops to protect it. Not so Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Iraq or any of the other Middle Eastern countries in defense of which the blood of our young men and women has been shed. As for the amount of military assistance provided to Israel, it comes with a critical caveat. Nearly all of the aid must be spent in the United States, which creates high paying defense industry jobs for Americans.
NETANYAHU: “In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.”
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: While the West Bank, or Judea and Samaria, is promised to the Jewish people in the Bible, the international community considers the West Bank occupied territory. Israel captured the area in the 1967 Mideast war but has never annexed it. Its occupied status is underscored by the presence of tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers who protect Israeli settlements and control the movement of Palestinian residents in the name of security.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: Again, AP avoids the issue. Contrary to the blatantly false accusations by Israel’s Arab enemies and their mindless pseudo-leftist fellow travelers that Israel is a foreign “colony” implanted in the region, Prime Minister Netanyahu pointed out the fact that Jews have a historical connection to Israel, including Judea and Samaria, and that Jews have had an unbroken presence in the land for thousands of years.
NETANYAHU: “You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it.”
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: Israel does give its Arab minority full civil rights, including participation in elections. But Israeli Arabs suffer from systematic discrimination in housing and the workplace. Also, more than 2 million Palestinians living in the West Bank do not have Israeli citizenship and therefore cannot vote in Israeli elections.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: If all groups in a country have full civil rights, including the right to vote, then that country is a democracy (or at least what we commonly refer to as a democracy). In fact, Israel’s Arabs have full access to the government and legal systems. They have the right to vote for whomever they choose and are represented in the Knesset by those for whom they vote. Israeli Arabs have full access to the courts and have served at all levels of the judiciary, including on the Supreme Court. Israeli Arabs have served as deputy prime ministers and, in one notable instance, as acting president of Israel. By any objective measure, Israel is a democracy. That it has imperfections does not change this basic fact. By AP’s definition, no country, including the U.S. is a democracy.
NETANYAHU: “The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv.”
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: Nearly all of these communities were built in the face of overwhelming international opposition and are considered illegal settlements by the world, including the U.S. There are 300,000 Israelis living in the West Bank and 200,000 in east Jerusalem, making a total of 500,000.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: AP avoids an apples to apples comparison, by failing to disclose where Israelis living beyond the 1967 Green Line reside. In fact, the prime minister is correct that the vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and greater Tel Aviv.
NETANYAHU: “The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10 percent a year.”
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: The West Bank economy is indeed growing rapidly. But the World Bank has noted that the growth comes after years of contraction during fighting with Israel and has been fueled by huge amounts of foreign aid. It warns the growth is unsustainable unless Israel does more to encourage the Palestinian private sector.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: AP whitewashes the facts by referring to the economy having contracted “during fighting with Israel”, as though that was forced upon the Palestinians. Of course the economy contracted when, as a result of attacks by Palestinians, Israel stopped giving Palestinian residents unfettered access to jobs in Israel proper and Israelis reduced purchasing Palestinian goods and services. The fact remains, however, that Palestinian economy is, n fact booming, just as it did during the period between the signing of the Oslo Accords and the beginning of the fighting directed by Yasir Arafat in 2000.
NETANYAHU: “Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of al-Qaida.”
THE FACTS [ACCORDING TO AP]: While Hamas and al-Qaida have killed hundreds of people in religious holy wars, they have no connection, and Hamas has in fact come under criticism from the global terror network for being too moderate. Al-Qaida preaches global jihad. Hamas says its struggle is solely against Israel, not the West at large. In its Gaza stronghold, Hamas has violently clashed with smaller armed groups that claim inspiration from al-Qaida.
THE ACTUAL FACTS: Contrary to the false comparison by AP, Prime Minister Netanyahu did not say that Hamas and al-Qaeda are allies or that they are at all friendly with one another. What the prime minister said is that Hamas, like al-Qaeda, is a militant terrorist group pursuing a radical pan-Islamist ideology. In that, the prime minister is absolutely accurate.
It is the AP, not Prime Minister Netanyahu, that requires fact-checking.