Financial Times of London's Bias Against Israel Attracts Attention
finanical times cartoon.JPG
Cartoon appearing on the Financial Times' Rachman blog
The Financial Times of London (FT) is a prominent business-oriented newspaper with an international reach. Over the years its slanted coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict has attracted notice. Two recent pieces expose the depths of this bias.
Just Journalism, an independent media research group based in the UK, published an investigative report that assesses 121 Financial Times editorials relating to the Middle East over the past year. According to Just Journalism board member Robin Shepherd, "This report demonstrates that the FT has repeatedly disregarded salient facts when it comes to the Middle East and disproportionately blames Israel for the region’s woes."
The report finds that
1. The FT views Israel as primarily responsible for the perpetuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while downplaying other factors. Other aggravating factors such as terrorism, disunity within Palestinian ranks and a failure to accept Israel as a Jewish state are downplayed.
2. The prospect of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is referred to in five editorials; yet no Financial Times editorial in 2009 makes reference to the threatening rhetoric from Iran’s President Ahmadinejad against Israel.
3. Israeli political leaders are depicted as ‘irredentist’, ‘hawkish’, and ‘ultra-nationalist’. In contrast, Palestinian leaders are portrayed as ‘moderate’ and ‘conciliatory’, if corrupt.
4. The Saudi Peace Initiative of 2002 is touted in seven editorials and the newspaper expresses sympathy with the recent Arab refusal to meet Israeli concessions with Arab concessions. The newspaper attacks the West – the US in particular – for backing ‘an ossified order of … Arab strongmen’ typified by the Mubarak regime in Egypt; however, Saudi Arabia is spared harsh criticism, particularly regarding its human rights record.
5. The publication backed the Goldstone Report, which described the Israeli military operation as ‘a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population’. The Financial Times described Israel’s actions in Gaza as ‘disproportionate’ in four editorials.
6. Israel’s total military and civilian withdrawal from Gaza in August 2005 is not viewed as a meaningful Israeli concession, rather it is seen as inadequate at best, and a cynical ploy at worst
The report notes a tone of deference towards the Saudi regime, which raises the question of what influence the wealthy Saudi regime has on the newspaper.
The Just Journalism report prompted Marty Peretz, publisher of the New Republic, to pen an editorial on Feb. 1, 2010 where he notes that the CEO of the group that owns the Financial Times was associated with the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Foundation. The Foundation has been the beneficiary of substantial donations from wealthy Arab individuals and states.
Posted by SS at February 3, 2010 11:46 AM
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