On Saturday in the Magazine section The Times carried a vile piece of anti-Israel propaganda by columnist Charlotte Edwardes. Her boyfriend Robert Peston (political editor of ITV News) travelled with her to Sheikh Jarrah in Judea and Samaria and has promoted her article on Twitter.
Edwardes is not a Middle East specialist. In truth she does not appear to be a specialist in anything at all. I’ve subscribed to The Times for years and this is the first time I’ve come across her. She does interviews for The Times with ‘interesting people’. Like Joey Essex, Tom Bradby, Robert Webb, Dodi Fayed’s brother …….. (All about as interesting as watching paint dry….)
This time Edwardes’ interviewees were two young photogenic members of the el-Kurd family in Sheikh Jarrah, near Jerusalem in Israel. Mohammed El-Kurd has 227,100 followers and a blue tick on Twitter; his twin Muna El-Kurd has lots of followers on Instagram. The heading to the article boasts that they have ‘more than 2 million followers’. Yes there are millions of Israel haters in the world. So what – it doesn’t mean their anti-Israel lies merit publicity in The Times which people (me included) buy because they value truth and accuracy.
The siblings protest about Israel on social media:
Let’s look at the history of Sheikh Jarrah and the El-Kurd family. None of which you will find in Edwardes’ article.
The grave of Shimon HaTzadik has been a Jewish holy site for centuries. In 1875 the Jewish Community purchased the tomb and surrounding land from Arab owners, and established the communities of Shimon HaTzadik and Nachalat Shimon. Despite facing waves of violent attacks from Arabs, the community survived until 1948 when Jordan attacked and the Jews were forced to flee. Jordan – with UNRWA – built 28 homes which were then occupied by Palestinians. In 1967 when Israel stopped a planned attack by its neighbours, Israel retook the area. The original Jewish owners found strangers in their houses. A legal process began. In 1982 the Courts ruled that the Jews were the legal owners. In an act of clemency, the Court ruled that the Al-Kurds could stay provided they paid rent. They refused. The El-Kurd family – without ownership and without a permit – extended their property. Now – after decades of refusing to pay rent – the El-Kurd family is being evicted.
The same happens in the UK and throughout the civilised world: If a tenant repeatedly refuses to pay rent, they are evicted.
There’s more about the El-Kurd twins that you won’t find in Edwardes’ article. Mohammed El-Kurd glorifies terrorists and spreads incitement. Please watch this video by Emily Schrader and Yoseph Haddad. And read this. And this.
Edwardes, however, ignores all this. For her the El-Kurd twins are warrior ‘human rights’ journalists, using their cameras to expose wrongdoing. Revoltingly she even compares them to Daniella Frazier, the teenager who filmed George Floyd’s murder.
Certainly, if Instagram Live is a crime, the whole of Gen Z is at risk, because this is a contemporary response to social injustice. It’s what Darnella Frazier did when she saw a policeman with his knee on George Floyd’s neck in 2020; what Feidin Santana did when he saw unarmed Walter Scott shot in the back by a US policeman in 2015. The audience doesn’t need every twist and turn narrated; viewers want to look at their screens, see the footage and make up their own minds.
And look how Edwardes falsifies history:
Sheikh Jarrah … long been targeted by right-wing American-Israeli settlers determined to overturn Palestinian ownership of houses awarded two generations ago to families in compensation for property they lost when they were displaced from their homes in Israel. These settlers aim to take the houses of Palestinian families using pre-peace agreement documents and discriminatory property laws that favour Jews over Arabs.
It’s a brazen lie. It’s garbage. See above – Jewish ownership of these properties goes back to the mddle of the 19th century. This ownership chain was interrupted only between 1948 and 1967, when Jordn illegally occupied the area, expelled the Jews and sequestered their land.
More lies from Edwardes:
Under international law, the settlers’ claims are illegal because east Jerusalem is still occupied territory.
One, these are not ‘settlers’, they are rightful property owners. Two, no Court has ever said that Israel’s control of East Jerusalem is ‘illegal’. The UN Human Rights Council and UN General Assembly are not Courts, they are bodies with permanent anti-Israel majorities.
During Ramadan, Israeli police stormed the area injuring hundreds of Palestinians.
The truth: Arab aggression was initiated at the start of Ramadan with attacks on Jews in the streets of Jerusalem and its light railway. A yeshiva student was murdered in an attack that left two other students critically wounded. A terror cell was thwarted on its way to commit a major atrocity in Jerusalem. Arabs desecrated the al-Aqsa mosque by turning it into a war encampment. Stockpiled rocks and Molotov cocktails were lobbed from the mosque compound at police and at Jews praying at the Western Wall. The police entered the mosque purely to stop this murderous onslaught. For Edwardes to swallow Palestinian propaganda and present this as gratuitous violence against innocent and pious worshippers is obscene – a depth to which one had thought The Times would never ever sink.
As Melanie Phillips writes, ‘this falsehood has a long and bloody history. “Al-Aqsa is in danger” was the cry with which the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini – Hitler’s ally who was equally committed to the genocide of the Jews – launched murderous Arab pogroms against the Jews of pre-war Palestine.’
The rest of Edwardes’ article is unsubstantiated allegations against Israel with zero right of reply.
As mentioned above, Edwardes is supported on Twitter by her boyfriend Peston.
Who’s ‘not anti-Israel. Quite the oppose’ [sic]
Look at how he openly displays his ignorance of the conflict:
He clearly doesn’t know about the incendiary kites that are launched from Gaza into Israel.
This article is an absolute disgrace. Shame on you John Witherow Editor of The Times.
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Addendum: @DigFind reminds us that flying the PLO flg is a criminal offence because the PLO is committed to the destruction of the world’s only Jewish State.
Addendum: CameraUK takes the piece apart: ‘ …..the piece published in The Times (“The Gen Z activist twins of Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem”, July 17) by Charlotte Edwardes was not journalism. It was pro-Palestinian advocacy published by typically serious news outlet.’